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Oct

4

2016

19 Lead Nurturing Email Examples You’ll Want to Steal

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You’ve done it. You provided valuable content to your readers and they’ve converted into leads. Now, it’s time to nurture these leads into opportunities for your sales team.

Trouble is, cutting through the inbox clutter isn’t an easy feat. And many of these folks just aren’t ready to buy yet.

That’s where lead nurturing comes in: It’s a way to stay connected to the leads you collect that aren’t ready to buy from you yet, and build up trust until they are ready.

If you want to learn more about lead nurturing in general, you can check out this guide. But for the sake of this post, we’re going to dive deep into one of the best channels for carrying out your lead nurturing efforts: email. Download our free ebook to learn how to master lead nuturing.

To help you better understand how to pair the two concepts, check out the lead nurturing email examples below. From ecommerce to product marketing, there’s something for everyone — no matter what industry you operate in. (And If you haven’t already, check out Leadin: A free tool by HubSpot that helps you generate more leads and learn more about them.)

Check out these industries:

Ecommerce | B2B | Retail | Travel | Food & Beverage | Services | Product Marketing

19 Lead Nurturing Email Examples to Inspire Your Strategy

Ecommerce

1) Framebridge

Not all lead nurturing emails need to be strictly promotional. Engagement will lead to sales, so it’s important to send recipients something they’ll want to open and read. Framebridge does something in their nurturing emails that works like a charm: education. By teaching the reader a helpful skill, they are providing value in exchange for an ask from their recipient (reading the guide).

It’s also worth mentioning that they only use one clear call-to-action — “Educate Me.” According to WordStream, simply using one call-to-action (CTA) in an email increases clicks by 371% and sales by 1617%.

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2) Casper

Your product is only as good as its reviews: eConsultancy reports that 61% of customers will read a review or testimonial online before purchasing. In this traditional abandoned cart email, Casper adds a bit of social proof with a fun customer testimonial.

Casper’s abandoned cart email is clever and to-the-point. It asks the reader if they’d like to revisit a cart they have added to, shows what they were shopping for, and includes two simple CTAs.

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3) Sephora

For visual products, video is a great method of communicating or explaining. A study by Tubular Insights reports that 96% of B2B organizations use video in some capacity in their marketing campaigns, of which 73% report positive results to their ROI.

Sephora includes a fun video from an employee with educational content as well as product offerings. They do have a lot of calls-to-action, however, the main focus is to watch the tutorial which is helpful to the reader. A visual email for a visual brand, it grabs your attention and shows off the products in a unique and interesting way.

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B2B

4) Litmus

Triggered email messages yield 67.9% higher open rate and 241.3% higher click rates than standard email messages, according to Epsilon. In other words, when you use a person’s behavior — let’s say that downloaded content about email workflows — to trigger a relevant email based on that action, it will perform well.

Here’s a great example from Litmus that demonstrates how to use clever, clear copy to provide recipients with a relevant email that adds provides even more value.

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Retail

5) Uncommon Goods

Uncommon Goods shows their products in context and creates a Pinterest-inspired section for each different aesthetic. Each collection has a featured CTA and the email feels more like a curated pinboard than a sales email.

Not to mention, this email is also very mobile-friendly, which can play a big part in the success of an ecommerce lead nurturing email: 56% of email is opened on mobile devices, according to Litmus.

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6) Chubbies

Chubbies is well known for their cheeky marketing and their emails do not disappoint. With 1.4 million Facebook Likes, they put the social, fun aspect of content first. Their email newsletter serves as a hub for user-generated content, promotions, and all-around humor.

Part information, part fun, this email encourages its reader to enjoy reading it even if they aren’t planning to buy anything in that moment. The copy relates to its audience, the visuals are on-brand, and they offer multiple CTAs (purchase clothing & follow on Snapchat).

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Travel

7) JetBlue

JetBlue has some of the best email copy around. Not only is this email funny, helpful, and full of great puns, but it also reflects JetBlue’s commitment to engaging and retaining customers through email.

Aware that the funnel isn’t always visitor > lead > customer, one of JetBlue’s email objectives is to convert current or past customers into TrueBlue members, as demonstrated below.

(Want to learn how long your emails should be? Check out this helpful blog post that takes audience and message into consideration.)

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8) Airbnb

Airbnb’s emails have one goal in mind: give their readers wanderlust.

This email has a clear CTA, highlights beautiful travel destinations, and doesn’t ask too much of the recipient. Not to mention, the one year anniversary is also a good opportunity to reach out to their subscribers without seeming pushy. It feels personal and curated. (Take me to Paris, please!)

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Services

9) Handy

The combination of clear buttons, information about the service, and a nice photo make this email from Handy feel uncluttered and effective. More specifically, the photo of smiling customers is a smart move for two reasons:

  1. It helps to draw attention to the effect their product has on those who buy it: happiness.
  2. Human photos saw 95% higher conversion than object photos, according to VWO.

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10) Freelancer

I’m a sucker for a good illustration and Freelancer’s caught my attention immediately. They prove the value of the service through a drawing, then provide a clear ask in the CTA: “Get Started Today.”

Eye-tracking studies have shown that readers spend more time looking through images than reading text when they are relevant to the copy. So if you can align images in your email while educating your readers, the message will stick with them for longer and have a higher impact.

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11) Skillshare

At the top of this email, Skillshare includes a nice reminder to its recipients that their trial is about to expire — a smart move that’ll hopefully result in a renewal or purchase.

The reminder is accompanied by some unobtrusive, helpful CTAs for various educational classes. Notice how the simple, stylish boxes stand out as an alternative to a traditional button.

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Food & Beverage

12) Thrive

When a person hears something, they’ll remember 10% of that content three days later. However, when it’s paired with a relevant image, they will remember 65% of the information three days later. This concept is referred to as the picture superiority effect.

Thrive takes advantage of this theory through their use of product images. They highlight their products in an attractive way, include a good amount of content, and encourage the reader to start shopping.

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13) Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin Donuts used an announcement for a new item as a way to reach out to its audience. This simple email asks its readers to find the location nearest them, showcases the new drink, and has a secondary CTA to add them on Snapchat. (Speaking of which, check out this guide to Snapchat for business.)

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Product Marketing

14) InVision App

Newsjacking is defined by HubSpot as “the practice of capitalizing on the popularity of a news story to amplify your sales and marketing success.” By mentioning a current, trending topic into your marketing, you can bring in a new audience and engage with your current users. (You can learn how to incorporate newsjacking into your marketing strategy here.)

InVision monopolized on the “Stranger Things” trend by highlighting its typography in this email and relating it back to the design industry. They also used it as an excuse to teach their newsletter recipients through workshops and trainings.

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15) Zapier

According to DemandGen, leads that are nurtured with personalized content convert into sales at 20% higher than those who aren’t.

This email is from the CEO of Zapier asking how he can help them get setup proves that they’ve got a handle on the whole personalization thing. This user is being targeted with a name personalization token as well as a trigger indicating that they are yet to setup the product.

For technical products, friendly, helpful emails based on activity can perform extremely well. Notice how they even include a link to their help documentation for added value and clarity.

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16) Sprout Social

Sprout Social uses a new feature as a reason to reach out to leads. They teach the audience about this new feature, let them know that their trial is expiring, and provide helpful feature descriptions to inform their decision.

The Kapost blog tells us that 60% of people are motivated to learn more about a product after reading about it. By giving your readers a taste of your new products and services, they will be inspired to learn more, so be sure to also include relevant links and information for them to continue their research.

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17) Typeform

Writing email copy is difficult. It’s important to be friendly, helpful, and straightforward.

That’s why Typeform really hit the nail on the head with this email. In the example below, you’ll see that they’re not only being relatable and honest, but they are also strategically taking advantage of their user’s inactive status to position the outreach. And the challenge to look at their leaderboard is a nice secondary CTA that doesn’t ask too much.

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18) Square

Holiday marketing is a common type of lead nurturing. Both B2B and B2C companies take full advantages of running holiday-themed campaigns throughout the year.

Square leverages the Valentine’s Day holiday to encourage its recipients to take action with their own customers. They provide a helpful and powerful statistic to prove value, and keep it short and sweet.

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19) Duolingo

Duolingo taps into their users’ affinity for learning by asking them to nominate a favorite teacher for a contest. This is a great way of engaging with your audience while providing a helpful and fun reason to click.

They also make use of two different types of testimonials. They tell the reader to join “350,000 teachers” as well as including two quotes from teachers using the product. What a great use of social proof.

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Now that you’ve been inspired by these great brands and products, learn how to write email copy like a pro and create compelling images.

Have any favorite lead nurturing images? Mention them in the comments below.

Op

Sep

29

2016

30 Ways to Slice Your Email Database for Better Email List Segmentation

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If you’re new to the world of email marketing, you might be unfamiliar with the importance of segmenting your email lists. But it’s a big deal: According to DMA, 77% of email marketing ROI came from segmented, targeted, and triggered campaigns in 2015. 

The best part about email segmentation? There are a ton of creative ways you can segment your email list to run innovative and effective campaigns that leads and customers will enjoy, from geography and industry to content format and topic. The more information you collect about your email recipients, the more opportunities you have to tailor your emails to resonate just right. Download our complete guide to email marketing here for even more email  segmentation and optimization tips.

To get your brainstorm started, check out the comprehensive list of email list segmentation ideas below. (Then, download this email marketing planning template to keep all of your email efforts organized.)

30 Ways to Segment Your Email List for More Targeted Email Marketing

The whole point of segmentation is to provide more relevant content to your email recipients. To do that, you’ll have to take the time to craft targeted campaigns that take into account not just list segments, but also lead data, and trigger events that help customize your email campaigns further. (Our marketing team uses the Email App and the Lists App in the HubSpot Marketing Platform in combination with HubSpot CRM to accomplish this.)

Bear in mind that while some of these recommendations will work wonderfully on their own, many of them are at their absolute best when crossed with other segments, triggers, and lead intelligence data. 

1) Geography

Knowing where your contacts live can be seriously powerful information. If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, you wouldn’t want to send in-store offers to out-of-towners, right? Or let’s say you’re a national franchise — you better be segmenting by zip code to ensure you’re not infringing on someone else’s territory, or worse, marketing to a location that your organization doesn’t even service yet.

Here’s a geographically-segmented email I received from Vamoose, a bus service I’ve used frequently to travel between New York and the Washington, D.C. area. (I can’t believe it’s already time to start planning travel for Thanksgiving.)

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2) Age

People of all ages have access to the internet these days, which means you could be emailing a college student, a retiree, or even a little kid. You may find knowing the general age range of the people on your list helpful to remove those not in your target audience, or to adjust the messaging of your email communications.

3) Gender

Just as you’d speak to a retiree and a college student differently, you might adjust your messaging and offers based on gender, too. If you have a wide product offering that extends across genders, consider segmenting your list in this manner — and beefing up the segmentation with other demographic and psychographic details as well.

4) Persona

Speaking of demographics and psychographics, you should have buyer personas that include information of this nature, as well as more detailed explanations of what makes these folks tick and why your solution provides value for them. If you don’t have buyer personas created already, use these free templates to create your own — and then segment your list based on them. Because each persona has different needs and value propositions, they’re all going to require different email content for the best clickthrough and conversion rates.

5) Organization Type

Do you sell to other businesses? Are they franchises? Non-profit organizations? Ecommerce companies? Enterprise organizations? Small businesses? They all have different needs, and as such, their email content should be different — so segment your list accordingly.

6) Industry

If you’re selling to other businesses, you may encounter leads and contacts across many different industries. Knowing your lead’s industry will allow you to add another level of personalization to your email marketing.

7) Job Function

As a B2B marketer, your email list could contain a whole melee of different job functions — office personnel, salespeople, marketers, consultants, developers, customer service, accountants … the list goes on. Considering the breadth of job roles within any given organization, doesn’t it make sense to segment your list accordingly?

8) Education Level

You could segment your list based on how many degrees they hold, or how educated a lead or contact is regarding your brand and the subject matter you discuss. If you segment your list based on the level of understanding they have on the topics you write about, you can tailor your lead nurturing content to speak at the right level.

Here’s an email I received from Idealist, which they sent to me based on my previous indication that I had already earned a Bachelor’s degree:

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9) Seniority Level

There are different job roles, and there are different levels of seniority. Perhaps your contact said they work in marketing, but is she the VP of marketing, or a marketing coordinator? Those two contacts will differ in years of experience, salary level, pain points, decision-making potential, and a whole host of other differences that make segmentation critical for effective email marketing campaigns.

10) Past Purchases

If a segment of your list has purchased from you before, use that information to send them emails catered to that which interests them. Then make your bottom line bigger by identifying upsell opportunities with additional services or complementary products they’d enjoy based on their past purchases.

Here’s Casper, the maker of my bed made of clouds, shooting me an email about the other products they offer:

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11) Purchase Interests

You can infer someone’s purchase proclivities from past buying behavior, or you can just ask. My colleague, Lindsay Kolowich, highlighted companies who do this in creative ways — such as with surveys — in a recent blog post about awesome email marketing campaigns to help them create better targeted emails.

12) Buying Frequency

Segment your email list based on how often someone purchases. Not only can you try to increase shopping frequency for some, but you can also reward frequent shoppers with an invitation to your loyalty program to make your brand even stickier. (Download this free guide to learn how to more effectively use and measure customer loyalty programs for your business.)

Here’s a customer loyalty email I received from my mobile provider, AT&T, about early ticket access to a concert they’re hosting. (Do you think they somehow know I attended a Panic! At the Disco concert when I was in middle school? This is embarrassing, readers.)

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13) Purchase Cycle

Do certain customers come to you on a weekly, monthly, yearly, or quarterly basis? Or perhaps they only need you at a certain time of year — a pool cleaner might see upticks in spring and fall, for example. Segment your list based on customers’ purchase cycle so you can be there right at their point of need.

14) Content Topic

Here at HubSpot, we’ve noticed that some of our leads and contacts are far more interested in certain content topics than others. There’s one segment that’s extremely interested in sales and marketing alignment, while another is far more interested in Snapchat for business. So it only makes sense that we segment our list based on the topics our contacts have showed interest in. Take a look at what content gets people clicking, and segment your list based on that.

Here an example of an email I received from Twitter featuring suggestions for who to follow next (and it worked):

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15) Content Format

You may find that specific content formats are more appealing to certain segments of your database — some like blogs, others prefer ebooks, and some may only show up when you put on a webinar. For example, in a recent HubSpot Research survey, 43% of respondents wanted to see more video content in the future. If you know how certain segments of your list prefer to consume content, you can deliver the offer content in your emails via their preferred format.

16) Interest Level

Just because someone converts on a content offer, doesn’t mean they actually liked it. Segment your list based on how interested leads are in your content. For example, we might email a segment of webinar attendees that stayed engaged for 45 minutes or more with a middle-of-the-funnel offer to help move them along in the sales cycle, while those that dropped off before 10 minutes might receive another top-of-the-funnel offer — or even a feedback survey to gauge what specifically lost their interest.

17) Change in Content Engagement Level

Have you noticed an increase or decrease in the amount of time leads are spending with your content? This is an indication of their interest in your company, and should be used to either reawaken waning interest, or move leads along through the sales cycle while they’re at their height of engagement with your content.

Here’s an example from Udemy, who segmented their email list to try to re-engage inactive users (I still highly recommend Udemy’s online classes):

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18) Change in Buying Behavior

Similar to a change in content engagement, a change in buying behavior can indicate a lead is becoming more or less interested in your company. Leads that decrease purchasing frequency, for example, might need a little extra love — and thus, a dedicated lead nurturing campaign.

I typically buy glasses and contact lenses at Lenscrafters once yearly with my vision insurance benefit, but I haven’t yet this year, so they wisely sent me this nurturing email with a gentle reminder to purchase from them:

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19) Stage in the Sales Cycle

I’ve mentioned it a little bit here and there, but the stage a lead is at in the sales cycle should determine which email segment they fall in. At the very least, set up separate lead nurturing tracks for those at the top of your sales funnel, in the middle of your sales funnel, and at the bottom of the sales funnel.

20) Email Type

There’s a lot you can tell by someone’s email address. You design your emails for different email clients if you’re really into sophisticated email design, or if they’re Gmail clients, responsive email design.

21) Satisfaction Index

Many businesses use satisfaction indexes to determine how happy their customer base is — Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a very popular one. If you’re measuring satisfaction numerically, consider sending an email segmented based on your customers’ level of happiness with your organization. Those with a high NPS score, for example, might provide opportunities to gather reviews, referrals, or even upsells. Those with lower scores, however, may get emails that give them access to educational materials that will make them happier and more successful customers.

Here’s Wayfair‘s email asking me to review how a recent purchasing and delivery experience went:

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22) Customers Who Refer

Consider creating a list segment full of those customers who repeatedly refer new business your way. These are your biggest brand advocates, and should receive emails targeted towards loyalty programs, refer-a-friend discounts, even possibly trials for new products or services you’re releasing to get honest feedback before widespread rollouts.

23) Customers Who Haven’t Reviewed

You should always be trying to get more positive reviews of your business, so why not create a list segment that targets those customers who haven’t written a review yet? You could combine this list segment with, say, those that are also social media fans and have a high NPS score. Think about it … you know they follow you on Twitter and their NPS score indicates they love you. That’s just begging for an online review email campaign. (Check out this case study guide + template to help you successfully reach out to potential participants and engage them in the process.)

Here’s LinkedIn‘s email asking me to participate in a feedback survey:

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24) In-Store vs. Webstore Visitors

If you have both a brick-and-mortar location as well as a website, segment your list based on where your customers like to shop. You can give invites to in-store events to those customers that give you foot traffic, while those that only visit your webstore might receive offers that should only be redeemed online.

25) Shopping Cart Abandonment

After analyzing 34 online studies of ecommerce shopping cart abandonment, Bamyard Institute determined that, on average, 68% of shopping carts were abandoned prior to purchase. Yikes. If you run an ecommerce webstore, you absolutely must have an abandoned shopping cart email program, and you should be segmenting your contacts based on this behavior.

26) Form Abandonment

Not an ecommerce company? You still have abandoners on your site — form abandoners. If someone starts filling out some forms on your website and then loses interest, gets busy, has a lousy internet connection, gets eaten by a zombie … you know, whatever … segment out those leads for nurturing aimed at bringing them back to your website to complete the form. The offer was interesting enough at one point in time to pique their interest, so why not try to recover some of those form abandoners?

27) Usage

Whatever it is you offer, there are some customers who you could consider “power users.” These are the ones that totally get how to navigate your website, use every feature in your software, and make the most of their relationships with your service providers. Then there are the rest of us. Segment out the power users and the strugglers, frequent users, and infrequent users; then send email content that teaches them how to be more successful with your product or service. The more customers use your product, the more likely they are to stick around: Bluenose found that lack of use was the number one driver of software customer churn.

Here’s a use-segmented email I received from MapMyRun. I feel misleading including it because I truly can’t remember the last time I went running, but it’s still a good example of list segmentation:

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28) Event Attendance

Does your organization host book signings, conferences, or social events? Don’t miss the opportunity to reach out to leads and potential customers you’ve already made a positive connection with. Segment your email list depending on the type of event, the topic or theme of your events, or even to RSVPs who didn’t make it out. You’ll be able to keep inviting them to events while sharing relevant content offers based on what you learned about them from past events. (P.S. – Have you registered for INBOUND 2016 yet?)

29) Page Views

You can tell a lot about your contacts from their behaviors, and the web pages they’re browsing are no exception. Are there certain blogs they’re reading or questions they’re asking when they come to your website? Experiment with lead nurturing campaigns dedicated to different topics your website covers to appeal to your site visitors’ patterns.

30) Call-to-Action Clicks

A clickable call-to-action is what takes your website content to the next level because it helps you generate leads and contacts. (Download 50 customizable call-to-action templates here.) You can tell which types of language work on your contacts based on what makes them click, or not click, on your CTAs. Are they more inclined toward time sensitive offers to “act now” or “try this month,” or do they prefer more explicit offers of “free” or “discounted” products? Use their clicking habits to determine how you segment your email list, and what language you use when reaching out. 

I hope this list has given you ideas for ways to segment your own lists, and most importantly, sparked some creative email campaigns you can run as a result of this new segmentation.

So what about you — what other ways can you think of to segment your email lists? Which of these segmentation ideas could you combine with others for really epic results?

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

free guide to optimizing and segmenting email

 
free guide: how to segment your email marketing

Aug

8

2016

5 Email Campaign Ideas to Help Increase Conversion Rates [Infographic]

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As businesses adopt inbound marketing and generate more and more leads, the need for an effective lead nurturing strategy becomes clear very quickly.

After all, 50% of leads aren’t ready to buy at the time of first conversion, so lead nurturing — especially through email — is the smartest way for marketers like us to reach them.

Why is email is the most powerful channel for lead nurturing? Because it’s a one-on-one interaction, and it can be highly personalized based on where a lead is in the buyer’s journey. In terms of engagement, research shows that lead nurturing emails beat out individual email blasts by far.

So, how do you get started with email drip campaigns? Check out the infographic below from Eliv8 for five email drip campaign ideas that’ll help you increase engagement and sales. (And read this post for even more ideas for automated email workflows you can set up to engage and activate the different contacts in your database.)

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What other email drip campaign ideas can you add to this list? Share with us in the comments.

optimizing email marketing ebook

Mar

15

2016

7 Amazingly Effective Lead Nurturing Tactics

ThinkstockPhotos-179225452-938101-edited.jpgAs companies adopt inbound marketing as a way to generate more leads, the importance of having an effective lead nurturing strategy becomes very clear. In most cases only a relatively small percentage of your inbound leads will be ready to make an immediate purchase, leaving upwards of 90% of your inbound leads on the table.

Implementing an effective lead nurturing strategy can have a huge impact on the results of your inbound marketing strategy. Research conducted by Forrester has shown that marketers see an average 20% increase in sales opportunities from nurtured vs non-nurtured leads. Furthermore, the research also reveals that companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales at a 33% lower cost (Source: Forrester, 2014).

Despite the clear benefits of lead nurturing, a study by MarketingSherpa indicates that only 36% of marketers actively nurture their sales leads (Source: 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Report). Without question, this means that there’s a huge opportunity for savvy marketers like you to implement effective lead nurturing strategies and gain an advantage over your competition.

So you are probably wondering…

  • Which lead nurturing tactics work best? 
  • What do super successful marketers do differently?
  • Or how do I get started with lead nurturing?

Lead nurturing is of course just one component that goes into executing an inbound marketing strategy. If you’d like to learn what super successful inbound marketers are doing differently to attract traffic, convert leads and close customers you can check out this comprehensive resource – An Epic Guide to Creating an Inbound Marketing Strategy.

Now let’s get down to it – we’ve read through dozens of reports, dug into the most recent data about lead nurturing and compiled this list of the seven amazingly effective lead nurturing tactics. 

7 Amazingly Effective Lead Nurturing Tactics

1) Targeted content – Leads nurtured with targeted content produce an increase in sales opportunities of more than 20% (Tweet this stat)

When it comes to lead nurturing, one size certainly does not fit all. As the research proves, strategically nurturing your leads using targeted content can significantly improve the results of your inbound marketing strategy.

Using targeted content for lead nurturing may seem obvious, but it’s something that marketers are struggling with. Last year Forrester Research reported that 33% of B2B marketers cite “targeted delivery of content” (i.e., delivering the right content, to the right people, at the right time) as their biggest lead nurturing challenge.

There are a few prerequisites for using targeted content for lead nurturing. First of all, you need to understand each of your unique buyer personas. Of course, you then need to create an assortment of targeted content designed to nurture each of your personas based on their interests, goals, objectives, and marketing triggers. Lastly, you need to have a marketing automation platform in place to help you identify, segment and target your unique buyer personas as you scale your inbound marketing strategy.  

2) Multi-channel lead nurturing – Four out of five marketers say their email open rates don’t exceed 20%. It’s time to think beyond the inbox. (Tweet this stat)

In the past, most lead nurturing strategies involved setting up a simple email drip campaign that would send out generic emails to a list of prospects. These day, email-only lead nurturing strategies have a few inherent problems.

For one thing, almost four out of five marketers say their email open rates don’t exceed 20% (Source: The State of B2B Lead Nurturing Survey, Oracle). On top of that, 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. A lack of effective lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance (Source: MarketingSherpa).

Today, marketers like you are looking for new lead nurturing tactics and technologies that go beyond the limits of email. With the help of powerful marketing automation platforms, savvy marketers are now executing multi-channel lead nurturing strategies.

Effective multi-channel lead nurturing most commonly involve a combination of marketing automation, email marketing, social media, paid retargeting, dynamic website content and direct sales outreach. Because there are so many tactics involved, to execute this properly, you really need to ensure that your sales and marketing teams are well aligned and working cohesively.

3) Multiple Touches – Prospects receive an average of 10 touches from the time they enter the top of the funnel until they’re a closed-won customer (Tweet this stat)

While the buyers journey for every product and service can be quite different, research from the Marketing Lead Management Report indicates that on average, prospects receive ten marketing touches from the time they enter the top of funnel until they’re a closed won customers.

Interestingly, another research study from Demand Gen suggests that 49% of marketers include less than five touches in their lead nurturing programs (Source: 2015 Lead Nurturing Benchmark Study). If you’re in this category, it might be time to revamp your lead nurturing efforts a bit. 

As you can imagine, the most successful lead nurturing strategies deliver content that helps prospects progress through the buyer’s journey by addressing common questions and concerns. In addition to email tactics, consider how you can use a mix of content types like social media, blog posts, whitepapers, interactive calculators, or even direct mail, to nurture your prospects into customers. 

4) Timely Follow Ups – The odds of a lead entering the sales process, or becoming qualified, are 21 times greater when contacted within five minutes versus 30 minutes after an inbound lead converts on your website (Tweet this stat)

The benefits of immediate follow up calls seem quite evident, but most organizations still aren’t acting very quickly. A recent article in Harvard Business Review highlighted the surprisingly slow response times of most US based companies. Here are a few benchmarks from the study which included feedback from more than 2,240 US companies:

  • The average first response time of B2B companies to their leads was 42 hours
  • Only 37% of companies responded to their leads within an hour
  • 24% of companies took more than 24 hours
  • 23% of the companies never responded at all

Automated lead nurturing can help you reach large groups of prospects, but a timely followup email or a phone call is still quite often the best way to convert inbound leads into qualified sales opportunities. As several research studies have shown, the odds of converting a lead into a sales opportunity are exponentially higher when the lead is contacted immediately following a website conversion.

When you make a timely, well researched call to an inbound lead it’s far more effective than any volume of cold calling. You know exactly what the prospects is researching based their recent browsing behaviour and you also have enough information about the prospect to do some initial research about the organization they work for and their specific role within the company.

5) Personalized emails – Personalized emails generate up to 6 times higher revenue per email than non-personalized emails do (Tweet this stat)

Several research studies indicate that email marketing continues to be the most effective tactic for lead nurturing.  The research also consistently shows that personalized emails tend to produce significantly better results than generic email blasts. In fact, a recent study by Experian indicated that personalized emails can generate up to six times higher revenue per email than non-personalized campaigns do (Source: Experian Email Marketing Study).

As highlighted in this helpful blog post, there are all kinds of ways you can personalize your emails to improve your lead nurturing strategy. You can send triggered emails when someone downloads your gated content, clicks on links in your emails, visits certain pages on your website, or when they demonstrate a high level of engagement. When you combine the power of marketing personalization with behavioral triggered emails you can deliver the right marketing messages to the right people, at exactly the right times.

6) Lead Scoring – 68% of successful marketers cite lead scoring based on content and engagement as the most effective tactic for improving revenue contribution from lead nurturing (Tweet this stat)

As the 2013 Lead Generation Marketing Effectiveness Study revealed, 68% of successful marketers cite lead scoring based on content and engagement as the most effective tactic for improving revenue contribution from lead nurturing. With compelling research like that you’d think that everyone would be adopting lead scoring, but a recent study by MarketingSherpa indicates that only 21% of B2B marketers are using lead scoring.

For those who are new to the concept of lead scoring, it is a methodology used to rank prospects against a scale that represents the perceived value each lead represents to the organization. Lead scoring can be implemented in most marketing automation platforms by assigning numeric values to certain website browsing behaviours, conversion events, or even social media interactions. The resulting score is used to determine which leads should be followed up with directly by a sales rep or which leads need to be nurtured further down the funnel. 

Based on this research, it seems as though lead scoring is an effective lead nurturing tactic that most marketers simply aren’t taking advantage of yet. 

7) Sales and Marketing Alignment – 89% of companies that align their sales and marketing lead nurturing efforts report measurable increases in the number of sales opportunities generated (Tweet this stat)

According to a study by market research firm CSO Insights, when both sales and marketing share responsibility for lead nurturing, companies experience a significant increase in conversion rates. As the 2014 Sales Performance Optimization Study revealed, 89% of companies that aligned sales and marketing lead generation efforts reported measurable increases in the number of leads that turned to opportunities as a result of continuous nurturing (Source: Sales Performance Optimization Study).

In order for both sales and marketing to contribute to lead nurturing you’ll need to identity when prospects should be transitioned between teams as they progress through the funnel. In creating your lead nurturing strategy, think about how you can use triggers like lead scoring, pageviews, workflow enrollment, conversion events or sales contact to transition leads from automation to direct one-on-one outreach.

The shared expectations, responsibilities and goals for this collaboration between sales and marketing should be outlined in a sales and marketing service level agreement (SLA). Creating a formal sales and marketing SLA will help the two teams hold each other accountable for converting leads and effectively nurturing them into paying customers.

In review, let’s quickly recap the seven most effective lead nurturing tactics:

1) Targeted content – Leads nurtured with targeted content produce an increase in sales opportunities of more than 20%

2) Multi-channel lead nurturing – Four out of five marketers say their email open rates don’t exceed 20%. It’s time to think beyond the inbox.

3) Multiple Touches – Prospects receive an average of 10 touches from the time they enter the top of the funnel until they’re a closed-won customer.

4) Timely Follow Ups – The odds of a lead entering the sales process, or becoming qualified, are 21 times greater when contacted within five minutes versus 30 minutes after an inbound lead converts on your website.

5) Personalized emails – Personalized emails generate up to 6 times higher revenue per email than non-personalized emails do.

6) Lead Scoring – 68% of successful marketers cite lead scoring based on content and engagement as the most effective tactic for improving revenue contribution from lead nurturing. 

7) Sales and Marketing Alignment – 89% of companies that align their sales and marketing lead nurturing efforts report measurable increases in the number of sales opportunities generated.

Want some more tips & tricks to boost the results of your inbound marketing strategy?

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Jan

7

2016

The Executive’s Guide to Effective Lead Nurturing Programs

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Let’s start with some scary stats. According to SiriusDecisions 98% of MQLs never result in closed business. Additionally, 54% of sales reps won’t make quota. All this despite record investments in marketing automation and sales enablement tools.

Now consider that the top priority among B2B marketers is increasing the number of contacts/leads generated (Source, State of Inbound 2015). Of course, a close second priority is converting contacts/leads into customers. Over the last five years, I’ve seen the focus on lead generation increase significantly among small and mid-market businesses (SMEs). As recently as 2013, I would regularly engage executives who had reached out to me to discuss a sales problem in an effort to teach them that the cause of their sales problem was how they were (or more accurately weren’t) generating leads. Today I get to do much less teaching as more and more executives have increased their focus on lead generation.

While the focus on lead generation is great, there’s a huge difference between generating leads and creating bona fide sales ready leads that predictably turn into profitable customers. Simply look at the search difference between “lead generation” and “lead nurturing” and you’ll quickly see what I’m talking about. 

So, while lead generation is certainly important, investing in generating more leads without building an effective lead management process is simply, well, foolish.

What Is Lead Nurturing & Why Is It So Important

Now let’s look at some exciting stats:

I could go on.

Lead nurturing is the purposeful process of engaging a defined target group by providing relevant information at each stage of the buyer’s journey, positioning your company as the best (and safest) choice to enable them to achieve their objectives.

An effective nurturing process actively moves the prospects you’ve created through your marketing and lead generation efforts, through a sales development process to the point where they become paying customers. Lead nurturing utilizes both marketing and sales tactics to increase the predictability and velocity of revenue growth.

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It should be noted that nurturing is far more involved than sending blast emails or monthly (or weekly) newsletters. Nurturing is more purposeful, following a clearly delineated process.

  • Educate: In the beginning, a lead nurturing process focuses on educating customers and delivering your commercial teaching point-of-view.
  • Inform: Teach your prospects how to make better decisions and advance their initiatives.
  • Engage: By sharing relevant content, gain the engagement of your prospect and begin the conversation.
  • Convert: Be clear about how your prospects can engage with you and how to start.

Types of Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. There are many types of nurturing programs geared to fit your prospects’ situations and your objectives. We’ve identified three types of programs that apply to the vast majority of situations.

  1. Engagement programs work to keep your leads engaged with your business by offering credible, straight-forward and uncomplicated content that is relevant to them and keeps their interest.
  2. Education programs challenge your leads to consider the benefits of your products or services and provide unique insights to how they can do their job better and more effectively.
  3. Active funnel programs are focused on leads that have actively entered their buyer’s journey. These campaigns are where the rubber meets the road…where marketing and sales must work in complete alignment to bring your work to the final goal – a paying customer.

Each of these programs have various types of campaigns that should be developed to meet the various objectives you have and to align with the context of your prospects.

How to Create Effective Campaigns

Here is the step-by-step process we use when creating lead nurturing programs for our clients:

Define buyer personas.

Understanding who it is you’re trying to reach provides a tremendous marketing and sales advantage. Creating buyer personas takes time, but once complete they focus and leverage your efforts. You simply cannot have consistently effective nurturing programs without clearly defined personas.

Progressive profiling.

The ability to gather information about the people visiting your website and downloading your content has never been easier. Through progressive profiling, your business is able to gather the right information about your leads to further focus your message and increase qualified conversation rates.

Create relevant content.

According to a recent study by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 70% of companies are producing more content than they were a year ago. Creating content isn’t enough. You must create relevant content. Here are some tips to make that a reality.

  • Know your audience
  • Consider the buyer’s journey
  • Set a conversational tone
  • Keep it simple
  • Personalize your content

Decide what programs to implement.

As you decide, consider these questions.

  • Which lead nurturing campaign(s) best fit your business needs?
  • Do you have the “people” capabilities to effectively execute the campaign?
  • What is still needed to make the campaign successful?
  • Do you have the appropriate systems in place to support the chosen campaign(s)?

Establish clear goals.

Before you begin any lead nurturing campaign you need to clearly define goals so you know what is considered “success”. Without clear objectives of what you are trying to accomplish with your lead nurturing campaigns you will never know if you’re seeing success are not. Goals can be as simple as “X% open rate and X% click-through-rate” or “X% conversion”. These are completely up to you but need to be established up front.

Test, measure and adjust.

Never stop testing and learning what resonates best with your buyer persona. Use every touch point as an opportunity to A/B test, whether it be emails or landing pages, or something else entirely. You want to test items such as image or headline, positioning of the form on the page, or email subject line. By doing so you can see what brings you closer to your established goals.

Bringing it all Together

Effective lead nurturing can have a lasting and profound effect of your business’ success. The ability to create and manage a successful program requires dedicated people, a powerful and strategic approach, solid technology and a good process that aligns actions from the beginning to the end.

While the effort is certainly significant, the reward is well worth it.

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Dec

30

2015

6 Essential Nurturing Workflows For Every B2B Company

ThinkstockPhotos-483426432-655592-edited.jpgNot everyone is ready to buy your product or service the first time they come to your site and that’s okay. With the right amount of time and information they will warm up to your brand, assuming they’re the right persona for your product or service, of course.

Nurturing campaigns are essential for keeping these people who visit your site but aren’t ready to immediately buy engaged with your brand. Essentially these campaigns are a series of emails aimed at keeping you top of mind while building trust and moving your lead further along in the buyer’s journey.

There are various types of nurturing workflows based on who you are targeting and the length of each work flow (both in terms of numbers of emails and total days in between sends). Regardless of who you are targeting or the length of your workflow, there are four basic goals you want to accomplish with each nurturing campaign:

  • Create brand awareness and establish a sense of trust through helpful content.
  • Address one of their pain points and offer content that may help them solve this problem either through blog posts or an ungated piece of content.
  • Offer a longer, gated piece of content, like an ebook or a guide, that relates specifically to you and your brand
  • Get the lead to contact you to inquire more about your services/product or make the purchase online.

For companies in the B2B space, there 6 workflows that are essential for them to be using.

1) Subscriber Workflows

A subscriber workflow is when recent subscribers to your blog/newsletter recieve an emails which provides additional information about your brand or shares recent updates with them. This type of workflow is important because it makes subscribers feel welcomed to your brand, defines what to expect from you, and may even contain a piece of content that converts them to a lead.

This workflow is typically just one email, the ‘welcome email’ which should include a number of different components. First and foremost, it should thank subscribers for their interest and show them that they’re valued. It should also let them know what to expect from your company such as how many times will you email them? Will they be emailed every time your company publishes a new blog, or will it be in a weekly or monthly roundup? Let them know so they can update their preferences if they’d like.

Including a relevant CTA is useful- just make sure it’s subtle and not salesy. You already got them to subscribe to your blog where they’ll see plenty of your content; you don’t want to them to feel like the email is too promotional.  

2) Lead Nurturing Workflows

A lead nurturing workflow functions with the end goal of converting leads into marketing qualified leads (or MQLs), which in turn brings them further down the sales funnel, and one step closer to becoming a customer. It’s important to have this be an automated email string because people want to know more about you and build trust before making a decision to purchase. You can set this workflow up to look something like the following once a website visitor becomes a lead:

  • Email 1, TOFU Offer: Delay 3 days. Promote an offer that relates to the one that they became a lead from. Maybe they downloaded an infographic on Growth-Driven Design, so you would then want to send them another TOFU offer, such as a blog post. This should be a more high-level offer for someone just at the beginning stages of the buyer’s journey.
  • Email 2, MOFU Offer: Delay 3 days. You should promote an, such as an ebook or case study, related to what they originally downloaded. This offer can get more specific as to the products and services you offer.
  • Email 3, BOFU Offer: Delay 3 days. The last email to the workflow would be a BOFU offer such as a free Growth-Driven Design Consultation, or something that gets them talking to sales.

This simple workflow will help leads move naturally through the sales cycle without looking to salesy or pushy on your end and leading to the dreaded “unsubscribe”.

3) Hot Leads Workflows

A ‘hot lead’ is someone who is frequently visiting your website, opening your emails and engaging with you on social media which indicates that you’ve clearly got their interest. Hold onto that interset by keeping them engaged with your company. 

A workflow for someone who is actively viewing and sharing your content could be:

  • Email 1: BOFU offer like a case study. This is a great offer to send someone who is almost-ready to make a sale and should be related to the topics they’ve been viewing most on your site
  • Email 2: Offer your lead a free service, such as a consultation, demo or review for what they need help with.
  • Email 3: If they took advantage of the free service, the next and final email should aim to get the lead on a call with your sales team.

4) Cold Leads Workflows

So, maybe your lead fell asleep on you… wake them up with a workflow! Maybe earlier in the process they weren’t in the condition to buy, but things have changed and now they’re ready but you haven’t followed up with them in a while.

Creating a workflow to remind them you’re still there and on their side is a great way to engage them again. To respark their interest you can send them some company updates or special offers, as listed below.

  • Option 1: What’s new with your business? Is there an exclusive offer you can send them that’ll get them excited about your brand? 
  • Option 2: Email them a survey. What kind of experience did they have with your company the last time they interacted?
  • Option 3: We’re thinking abot you.. are you thinking about us? You can get fun with this email. Talk to your leads like they’re people- believe me, they’ll respond better to this. Tell them about a product/service they may be interested in based off of their prior page views and downloads.

5) Customer Workflows

They’ve become a customer, but you’re not done with them yet! You want to encourage them to continue to interact with your brand. It’s an important workflow to use because it keeps customers thinking about your brand in hopes that they become repeat customers and evangelists. A simple customer workflow could resemble the following:

  • Email 1: Delay one day after becoming customer. The first email in the workflow should thank customers for making their purchase. Be sure to include company news to keep readers in the loop about what’s going on. Invite them to add your company on social media. This will also encourage engagement.
  • Email 2: Delay three weeks. In this email, you can ask your customer how their product/service they purchased from you is going. This makes sure you’re delighting them and keeping customers happy. If they aren’t happy, this allows you to fix it and make it right. Your customers will really feel taken care of if you include an email or phone number they can send questions or concerns to.
  • Email 3: Delay 2-3 months. Use this as an opportunity to promote making an upgrade or another purchase. You can push this through promo specials and discounts.

6) Industry/specific Topics Workflows

If you know what industry one of your prospects is from- that’s a golden piece of information. By knowing this, you can send them content specifically for them. By sending the right content to the right people, you’re more likely to convert. Check out where this lead came from. Was it for an offer specific to a certain industry? What kind of tradeshow did you meet them at? Answer these questions to segment them for this workflow.

After discovering what industry a prospect is in, send them workflows in this progression:

  • Email 1: Send them relevant blogs.
  • Email 2: White papers, videos, checklists, guides, etc.
  • Email 3: Webinars, case studies, ebooks, how-to videos, etc.
  • Email 4: Demo, assessments, consultation, reviews, etc.

By basing these emails off of industry or specific topics of interest, you will provide your leads with valuable and relevant information.

The Key Takeaway

You know they’re interested in you; now it’s time to capitalize on it. By sending your contacts workflows based on their buyer persona and life cycle stage, you’ll decrease your sales cycle by 23% according to Market2Lead. That’s right– 23%! So start segmenting your contacts into lists and target them with those workflows!

Want to learn from BluLeadz? Download their guide on Email Marketing.

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Oct

3

2015

21 Powerful Ways to Grow Your Email List [Infographic]

This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Agency Post. To read more content like this, subscribe to Agency Post.

I think we can all agree that things taste that much sweeter when we actually earn them: the promotion you got, the first car you bought with the money you saved mowing lawns for three summers, or the free coffee you received after the cashier punched the final hole in your rewards card.

It felt good, didn’t it?

For this same reason, buying an email list to reach a wider audience with your marketing materials is a route you don’t want to take. Not only does it put you at risk of ruining your reputation, but it can also negatively impact your email deliverability rate in a big way. 

The trouble is, earning email addresses takes time — and time is money. To help you grow your list the right way, check out this infographic from ELIV8 on how to maximize your lead generation efforts.

Want more content like this? Subscribe to Agency Post.

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Oct

1

2015

13 Email Workflows You Should Be Using in Your Marketing Automation

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Are your contacts going with the flow, or are they just sitting dormant in your marketing database? If you don’t have any automated email workflows set up, your answer is probably the latter — which means you’re missing out on some major opportunities to nurture and engage your existing contacts.

Did you know that B2B marketers who implement marketing automation increase their sales pipeline contribution by an average of 10% according to a report by Forrester? But wait … there’s more.

Lead nurturing campaigns aren’t the only type of email marketing automation you can use to get more out of your contacts database. Think about the contacts who are already your customers. Email automation can not only help you convert leads into customers, but it can also help you delight your existing customers and encourage activity like greater product adoption, upsells, evangelism, and additional purchases. 

If you want to get more out of your contacts database, this post will give you some ideas for automated email workflows you can set up to engage and activate all different types of contacts in your database.

To learn more about how to use automated email workflows, download our free guide here.

Setting Up Email Marketing Automation Workflows

If you hadn’t already guessed, email workflows need to be set up using marketing automation software. Different software providers will have different features and functionality, but the concept of marketing automation is pretty universal. 

If you’re using HubSpot’s Workflows App, for example, you can create personalized, automated email workflows that can get triggered in a number of different ways — when a contact gets added to a list, submits a form on your website, clicks a link in an email, views a page on your blog, clicks on one of your AdWords ads, or becomes a marketing qualified lead. 

You can also set up email workflows based on any information you have about the contacts in your marketing database, such a page views, email or social media clicks, content downloads, contact properties, or any combination of these and more. That’s some pretty powerful stuff! 

And that’s just the beginning of what you can do with workflows. Workflows can also enable you to automate other actions besides email, such as setting or clearing a contact property value, updating a contact’s lifecycle stage, adding/removing a contact from a list, and other administrative tasks that allow for more targeted, effective marketing to your prospects and customers. But we’ll save all that for another post. 😉

Now let’s walk through some examples of automated email workflows you can set up to start getting more out of your contacts database and marketing automation tools.

13 Examples of Email Marketing Automation Workflows You Should Try

1) Topic Workflows

Main Triggers: Page Views or Content Offer Downloads

Create a workflow for each of the industry-related topics you create content about. So if, hypothetically, you’re a unicorn breeder whose main content topics include unicorn diets, unicorn gear, and unicorn boarding, you could bucket your content marketing offers (e.g. ebooks, webinars, kits, etc.) and blog posts by these topics, create an email workflow for each topic, and trigger the appropriate workflow when one of your contacts views a page or downloads an offer centered around that topic.

So if a contact downloaded your ebook called 10 Tips for a Balanced Unicorn Diet, your “unicorn diet” workflow would be triggered, sending that contact other helpful content, like blog posts about unicorn dietary tips.

2) Blog Subscriber Welcome Workflow 

Main Trigger: Subscription to Your Blog

Give your brand new blog subscribers a nice, warm welcome with a blog welcome email. You can use this email to thank contacts for subscribing, remind them what they’ll get out of reading your blog, review their subscription settings (and allow them to make adjustments), and promote your blog’s best-performing articles or other offers.

Get tips for creating a successful blog welcome email here, and learn more about optimizing welcome emails here.

3) New Customer Welcome/Training Workflow

Main Trigger: Lifecycle Stage

While we’re on the subject of warm welcomes, consider setting up a series of welcome emails when a contact converts into a paying customer, which you can trigger when a contact’s lifecycle stage gets updated to “customer.”

Not only is this a great way to kick off your new customer relationship on a positive note, but it can also keep your customers engaged after they buy. And if your product or service requires a little training on your customers’ part, use this workflow as an opportunity to introduce helpful training materials on an incremental basis.

4) Engaged Contact/Evangelist Workflow

Main Triggers: Visits, Clicks, or Form Submissions

Create a dynamic list (we call these Smart Lists in HubSpot’s Marketing Platform) that automatically updates to include contacts who are really engaged with you. To create this list, use trigger criteria such as a high threshold of visits to your website, clicks on your emails or social media posts, or form submissions. Then create an email workflow to leverage this list as a way to encourage evangelism of your top content in social media.

Because these contacts are highly engaged with you already, they’re more apt to share your top content. You can also consider adding list criteria to pull in contacts with a certain number of Twitter followers so you can leverage the power of those social media influencers in your database. 

5) Lead Nurturing Workflow

Main Trigger: Multiple Top-of-the-Funnel Conversion Events 

If a contact has downloaded several of your top-of-the-funnel marketing offers like ebooks and webinars, it might be a good sign they’re ready for a little bit more. Set up workflows that help to advance these contacts further down the funnel.

If the contact is a lead, try sending them emails containing more middle-of-the-funnel content that might upgrade them to a marketing qualified lead (MQL) or an opportunity in your sales process. This workflow could include content and web pages you’ve identified from an attribution report analysis as influential in converting leads into customers — perhaps content like customer success stories/case studies, free trial offers, or product demos. 

(Bonus: If you’re using HubSpot’s Workflows, you could set up a condition that automatically upgrades these leads to a new lifecycle stage as a result!)

6) Internal Sales Rep Notification Workflow

Main Triggers: Bottom-of-the-Funnel Page Views/Conversion Events

On any given website, there are certain page visits and conversion events that indicate product interest more so than others. First, identify these pages and conversion events using an attribution reporting tool like HubSpot’s. You’ll notice that, more often than not, the pages you unearth will be your pricing page, your product pages, etc. — pages contacts view when they’re truly evaluating your products or services.

Use workflows here to trigger an internal email notification to your sales rep informing them of these high-value activities. Using personalization, give the rep all the information they need about the lead in question, including relevant mid- and bottom-of-the-funnel content that they can send to the lead in their outreach email. This allows you to connect sales reps with the best possible leads at the right time.

7) Re-Engagement Workflow

Main Trigger: Inactive Contacts

Reawaken inactive contacts with a re-engagement workflow, enrolling contacts once they’ve met certain list criteria. For example, you could set conditions such as the length of time since their last form submission, website visit, or email click, triggering the email when it’s been a while since a contact last engaged with you.

In your workflow, try sending them an exclusive offer or coupon to get them excited about your company again. For more tips about launching an effective email re-engagement campaign, check out this post.

8) Event Workflow

Main Trigger: Registration or Attendance

Hosting a live, in-person event? Or maybe an online event, like a webinar? Use email workflows to automate your communication to event registrants and attendees before, during, and after the event.

For example, create a workflow that delivers important information registrants should know leading up to the event, such as hotel accommodations and agenda information for live events, or webinar log-in information for online events. When the event ends, set up a workflow that gives attendees online access to session slides and continues to nurture them with additional content or promotion for future events. 

9) Abandoned Shopping Cart Workflow

Main Trigger: Shopping Cart Abandonment

If you’re an ecommerce business, you’ll likely benefit from an abandoned shopping cart workflow. The concept here is simple: When someone adds an item to their online shopping cart but leaves your site without completing the purchase, you can trigger an email workflow that reminds them of their forgotten purchase and motivates them to complete the transaction by offering a special discount code or some other incentive to buy.

10) Upsell Workflow

Main Trigger: Past Purchases

Communication with your customers shouldn’t stop after they make a purchase. This is especially true if you sell a variety of different products and/or services. Use workflows as an opportunity to upgrade or upsell your existing customers, or sell them complementary products and services depending on what they’ve already purchased.

Create dynamically updating lists of contacts who purchase a certain productor combination of products — and create workflows aimed at recommending other products/services or encouraging upsells or add-ons.

11) Customer Happiness Workflow

Main Trigger: High or Low NPS Scores

If you administer regular Net Promoter surveys of your customer base, you can use customers’ Net Promoter Scores as a property to trigger workflows.

Simply determine what your ideal customer happiness score is, and use that as the threshold for your dynamic list of happy customers. Then trigger a workflow for customers with “happy” scores and reward them with exclusive content, offers, or discounts.

Trigger a different workflow for your “unhappy” customers that includes content/offers aimed at helping to improve their happiness. We’ll give you a few bonus points if you segment those unhappy customers by the reasons they’re unhappy, and send them even more targeted workflows aimed at addressing the issues that are making them so grumpy.

12) Customer Success/Engagement Workflow

Main Triggers: Success Metrics or Product Usage

If you keep track of customer success metrics, you have a prime workflow opportunity on your hands. For example, if you’re trying to build up your arsenal of customer case studies, you could automatically trigger an email that asks customers if they’d be interesting in being featured as a success story once certain customer success metrics were met.

Furthermore, if you keep track of customers’ product adoption or feature usage, you could trigger a workflow for users who are exhibiting low product engagement, providing resources that educate and train them on how to use the product features they’re not taking advantage of.

13) Upcoming Purchase Reminder Workflow

Main Trigger: Purchases Made on a Cycle

Does your contacts database include customers who typically purchase on a cycle? Enter those people into a workflow that gets triggered when they make a purchase.

For instance, let’s say you sell eye care products, and a customer purchases a six-month supply of prescription contacts. Enroll that customer into a workflow that sends them an automated email five months later as a reminder that their six-month supply is about to run out, and it might be time to order a new batch of contacts.

What other automated email workflow ideas would you add to this list?

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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Sep

13

2015

Don’t Use a CRM? Here Are 4 Reasons Why It Might Be The Solution You Need

This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Sales Blog. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

In the early days of starting a business, you’ll encounter a dizzying array of acronyms — ROI, ARPU, CAC, LTV, MoM, NPV, just to name a few. One acronym is particularly important: CRM.

Simply put, CRM — or customer relationship management — refers to software that tracks interactions with prospects and customers.

All CRMs store prospects’ contact information — their name, email, and phone number, as well as any other identifying information a company chooses to track. CRMs can also group multiple contacts at a company under one account, which is helpful for sellers.

Beyond contact info, CRMs log reps’ touchpoints with their prospects, including emails, phone calls, voicemails, and in-person meetings. Some CRMs offer the ability to track deal stages and reasons for closed-lost and closed-won deals.

As anyone who’s ever struggled with contact management knows, a CRM system is an invaluable tool for businesses that want to grow and scale (read: virtually every business). But on the other hand, it’s yet another solution that business owners must implement and train users on. Is it really worth it?

Absolutely. Here are the top four reasons why your business — regardless of size, maturity, or industry — needs a CRM.

4 Crucial Benefits of Using a CRM System

1) It’s a centralized place for storing data.

In sales, speed and ease are critical. Spending precious time searching through their inbox or call history to get a prospect’s number or recall when they last spoke is a huge waste of a salesperson’s time. It’s also unreliable — if they forget a touchpoint, they risk sending the same email multiple times and annoying a prospect.

A CRM provides a full, accurate record of a rep’s entire interaction history with a prospect that’s accessible with one click. Reps will never have to manually reconstruct a timeline of touchpoints again.

Reps can also use a CRM to view their sales pipeline and opportunity queue, which ensures they always know where they stand relative to quota. In addition, CRMs allow salespeople to filter opportunities by the ones they own so they only have to refer to one page to get a high-level summary of all their deals in progress. Some even provide a snapshot of a rep’s sales pipeline by sorting opportunities by deal stage, making forecasting painless.

2) It improves communication across an organization.

In addition to making life easier for individual reps, CRM systems also improve communication at the organizational level. What if a rep is working a lead that their colleague spoke to two years ago? What if they’re taking over someone’s territory and have only been given an indecipherable Excel spreadsheet of prospects?

With a CRM, reps can immediately assess what’s already been done with a given prospect and what’s next. Your reps don’t need to reach out to their colleagues to get interaction history, because the information they need is already in the system.

3) CRMs make managers’ lives easier.

Another organization-wide boon: CRMs standardize how reps track their activities and prospect interactions, which streamlines reporting.

Without a CRM, different salespeople can track activities in different ways, which makes it difficult for managers and leaders to piece data together to form a coherent picture. CRMs make data entry uniform, meaning managers can easily combine and analyze data to understand the overall health of the sales organization.

Keeping activity recording consistent also reduces friction when passing a lead from one rep to another, switching territories, or reassigning a departed colleague’s opportunity queue. Not only will all relevant information be accounted for, it will also have been recorded in a manner that makes sense across the sales force.

4) It’s a sustainable, scalable tool for growth.

You might be asking yourself, “Can’t I just do this all in an Excel spreadsheet and call it a day?”

With one or two or five customers, manually tracking every interaction is doable. But think ahead to one, two, or even five years from now. Presumably, you want to triple or quadruple revenue in the years ahead, and the time your salespeople will have to spend recording prospect and customer information is eventually going to take over their days.

Furthermore, what if you want to analyze your salespeople’s activities to discover what outreach strategies or series of touchpoints work the best (or, frankly, anything else about your sales force’s effectiveness)? Pulling inconsistently tracked data from multiple sources can drag out or compromise your ability to get an accurate picture.

Ultimately, there’s a very simple question you should ask yourself if you’re considering a CRM: Do you want to grow your business? Your ability to do so is dependent on contacting your prospects at the right intervals and providing them relevant information at the right time, and you simply can’t do this effectively without a CRM.

Ready to flip the switch? Check out HubSpot’s free CRM.

get the free hubspot crm

Sep

13

2015

Don’t Use a CRM? Here Are 4 Reasons Why It Might Be The Solution You Need

This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Sales Blog. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

In the early days of starting a business, you’ll encounter a dizzying array of acronyms — ROI, ARPU, CAC, LTV, MoM, NPV, just to name a few. One acronym is particularly important: CRM.

Simply put, CRM — or customer relationship management — refers to software that tracks interactions with prospects and customers.

All CRMs store prospects’ contact information — their name, email, and phone number, as well as any other identifying information a company chooses to track. CRMs can also group multiple contacts at a company under one account, which is helpful for sellers.

Beyond contact info, CRMs log reps’ touchpoints with their prospects, including emails, phone calls, voicemails, and in-person meetings. Some CRMs offer the ability to track deal stages and reasons for closed-lost and closed-won deals.

As anyone who’s ever struggled with contact management knows, a CRM system is an invaluable tool for businesses that want to grow and scale (read: virtually every business). But on the other hand, it’s yet another solution that business owners must implement and train users on. Is it really worth it?

Absolutely. Here are the top four reasons why your business — regardless of size, maturity, or industry — needs a CRM.

4 Crucial Benefits of Using a CRM System

1) It’s a centralized place for storing data.

In sales, speed and ease are critical. Spending precious time searching through their inbox or call history to get a prospect’s number or recall when they last spoke is a huge waste of a salesperson’s time. It’s also unreliable — if they forget a touchpoint, they risk sending the same email multiple times and annoying a prospect.

A CRM provides a full, accurate record of a rep’s entire interaction history with a prospect that’s accessible with one click. Reps will never have to manually reconstruct a timeline of touchpoints again.

Reps can also use a CRM to view their sales pipeline and opportunity queue, which ensures they always know where they stand relative to quota. In addition, CRMs allow salespeople to filter opportunities by the ones they own so they only have to refer to one page to get a high-level summary of all their deals in progress. Some even provide a snapshot of a rep’s sales pipeline by sorting opportunities by deal stage, making forecasting painless.

2) It improves communication across an organization.

In addition to making life easier for individual reps, CRM systems also improve communication at the organizational level. What if a rep is working a lead that their colleague spoke to two years ago? What if they’re taking over someone’s territory and have only been given an indecipherable Excel spreadsheet of prospects?

With a CRM, reps can immediately assess what’s already been done with a given prospect and what’s next. Your reps don’t need to reach out to their colleagues to get interaction history, because the information they need is already in the system.

3) CRMs make managers’ lives easier.

Another organization-wide boon: CRMs standardize how reps track their activities and prospect interactions, which streamlines reporting.

Without a CRM, different salespeople can track activities in different ways, which makes it difficult for managers and leaders to piece data together to form a coherent picture. CRMs make data entry uniform, meaning managers can easily combine and analyze data to understand the overall health of the sales organization.

Keeping activity recording consistent also reduces friction when passing a lead from one rep to another, switching territories, or reassigning a departed colleague’s opportunity queue. Not only will all relevant information be accounted for, it will also have been recorded in a manner that makes sense across the sales force.

4) It’s a sustainable, scalable tool for growth.

You might be asking yourself, “Can’t I just do this all in an Excel spreadsheet and call it a day?”

With one or two or five customers, manually tracking every interaction is doable. But think ahead to one, two, or even five years from now. Presumably, you want to triple or quadruple revenue in the years ahead, and the time your salespeople will have to spend recording prospect and customer information is eventually going to take over their days.

Furthermore, what if you want to analyze your salespeople’s activities to discover what outreach strategies or series of touchpoints work the best (or, frankly, anything else about your sales force’s effectiveness)? Pulling inconsistently tracked data from multiple sources can drag out or compromise your ability to get an accurate picture.

Ultimately, there’s a very simple question you should ask yourself if you’re considering a CRM: Do you want to grow your business? Your ability to do so is dependent on contacting your prospects at the right intervals and providing them relevant information at the right time, and you simply can’t do this effectively without a CRM.

Ready to flip the switch? Check out HubSpot’s free CRM.

get the free hubspot crm

Aug

27

2015

Lead Scoring 101: How to Use Data to Calculate a Basic Lead Score

When most people start implementing inbound marketing, they’re primarily worried about getting enough new leads in the funnel. 

But once you have a lot of leads, you need to figure out who’s really interested in your product and who’s just starting to look around.

That’s where lead scoring comes in. Lead scoring lets you assign a value (a certain number of points) to each lead based on the professional information they’ve given you and how they’ve engaged with your website and brand across the internet. It helps sales and marketing teams prioritize leads and increase efficiency.

Every company has a different model for assigning points to score their leads, but one of the most common ways is using data from past leads to create the value system. 

How? First, you’ll take a look at your contacts who became customers to see what they have in common. Next, you’ll look at the attributes of your contacts who didn’t become customers. Once you’ve looked at the historical data from both sides, you can decide which attributes should be weighted heavily based on how likely they are to indicate someone’s a good fit for your product.

Sounds easy, right? Depending on your business model and the leads in your database, this can quickly become complicated. To make this process a little easier on you, we’re going to walk you through the basics of creating a lead score, including what data you should look at, how to find the most important attributes, and the process for actually calculating a basic score.

6 Types of Data You Can Use for Lead Scoring

1) Demographic Information

Are you only selling to people of a certain demographic, like parents of young children or CIOs? Ask demographic questions in the forms on your landing pages, and you can use your leads’ answers to see how well they fit in with your target audience.

One thing you can do with this information is remove outliers from your sales team’s queue by subtracting points for people who fall into a category you don’t sell to. For example, if you only sell to a certain geographic location, you might give a negative score to any lead who falls outside the proper city, state, zip code, country, and so on.

If some of your form fields are optional (like a phone number, for instance), then you also might award extra points to leads who provide that option information anyway.

2) Company Information

If you’re a B2B organization, are you more interested in selling to organizations of a certain size, type, or industry? Are you more interested in B2B organizations or B2C organizations? You can ask questions like these on your landing page forms, too, so you can give points to leads who fit in with your target audience and take points away from leads who aren’t at all what you’re looking for.

3) Online Behavior

How a lead interacts with your website can tell you a lot about how interested they are in buying from you. Take a look at your leads who eventually become customers: Which offers did they download? How many offers did they download? Which pages — and how many pages — did they visit on your site before becoming a customer?

Both the number and types of forms and pages are important. You might give higher lead scores to leads who visited high-value pages (like pricing pages) or filled out high-value forms (like a demo request). Similarly, you might give higher scores to leads who had 30 page views on your site, as opposed to three.

What about leads who have changed their behavior over time? If a lead has stopped visiting your website or downloading your offers, they may not be interested anymore. You might take points away from leads who’ve stopped engaging with your website after a certain period of time. How long — 10 days, 30 days, 90 days — depends on your typical sales cycle. 

4) Email Engagement

If someone’s opted in to receive emails from your company, you’re not sure how interested that person is in buying from you. Open and clickthrough rates, on the other hand, will give you a much better idea of their interest level. Your sales team will want to know who opened every email in your lead nurturing series, or who always clicked through your offer promotion emails. That way, they can focus on the ones who seem most engaged. You might also give a higher lead score to leads who click through on high-value emails, like demo offers.

5) Social Engagement

How engaged a lead is with your brand on social networks can also give you an idea of how interested they are. How many times did they click through on your company’s tweets and Facebook posts? How many times did they retweet or share those posts? If your target buyers are active on social networks, then you might consider awarding points to leads with certain Klout scores or numbers of followers.

6) Spam Detection

Last but not least, you might want to give negative scores to leads who filled out landing page forms in ways that could indicate they’re spam. For example, were first name, last name, and/or company name not capitalized? Did the lead complete any form fields by typing four or more letters in the traditional “QWERTY” keyword side-by-side?

You might also want to think about which types of email addresses leads are using compared with the email addresses of your customer base. If you’re selling to businesses, for example, you might take points away from leads who use a Gmail or Yahoo! email address.

How Do You Know What Matters Most?

That’s a lot of data to weed through — how do you know which data matters most? Should you find out from your sales team? Should you interview your customers? Should you dive into your analytics and run a few reports?

Actually, we recommend a combination of all three. Your sales team, your customers, and your analytics reports will all help you piece together what content is most valuable for converting leads into customers, which will help you attach certain points to certain offers, emails, and so on.

Talk to your sales team.

Sales reps are the ones on the ground, communicating directly with both leads who turned into customers and those who didn’t. They tend to have a pretty good idea of which pieces of marketing material helps encourage conversion.

Which blog posts and offers do your sales reps like to send leads? You might find some of them telling you, “Every time I send people this certain piece of collateral, it’s easier to close them.” This is valuable information. Find out what those pieces of collateral are, and assign points accordingly.

Talk to your customers.

While your sales team might claim certain content converts customers, you might find that the people who actually went through the sales process have different opinions. That’s okay: You want to hear it from both sides.

Conduct a few customer interviews to learn what they think was responsible for their decision to buy from you. Be sure you’re interviewing customers who had both short and long sales cycles so you get diverse perspectives. 

Turn to the analytics.

You should also complement all this in-person research with hard data from your marketing analytics.

Run an attribution report to figure out which marketing efforts lead to conversions throughout the funnel. Don’t only look at the content that converts leads to customers — what about the content people view before they become a lead? You might award a certain number of points to people who download content that’s historically converted people into leads, and a higher number of points to people who download content that’s historically converted people into customers. (HubSpot customers: Click here to learn more about running attribution reports in HubSpot.)

Another way to help you piece together valuable pieces of content on your site is to run a contacts report. A contacts report will show you how many contacts — and how much revenue — has been generated as a result of certain, specific marketing activities. Marketing activities might include certain offer downloads, email campaign clickthroughs, and so on. Take note of which activities tend to be first-touch conversions, last-touch conversions, and so on, and assign points accordingly. (HubSpot customers: Click here to learn more about creating a contacts report in HubSpot.)

Image Credit: HubSpot’s Academy Blog

How to Calculate a Basic Lead Score

There are many different ways to calculate a lead score. The simplest way to do it is this:

Step 1: Calculate the lead-to-customer conversion rate of all of your leads.

That’s the number of new customers you acquire, divided by the number of leads you generate. Use this conversion rate as your benchmark.

Step 2: Pick and choose different attributes customers who you believe were higher quality leads.

Attributes could be customers who requested a free trial at some point, or customers in the finance industry, or customers with 10-20 employees.

There’s a kind of art to choosing which attributes to include in your model. You’ll choose attributes based on those conversations you had with your sales team, your analytics, and so on, but overall, it’s a judgment call. You could have five different people do the same exercise, and they could come up with five different models. But that’s okay as long as your scoring is based on the data we mentioned previously.

Step 3: Calculate the individual close rates of each of those attributes.

Step 4: Compare the close rates of each attribute with your overall close rate, and assign point values accordingly.

Look for the attributes with close rates that are significantly higher than your overall close rate. Then, choose which attributes you’ll assign points to, and if so, how many points. Base the point values of each attribute on the magnitude of their individual close rates.

The actual point values will be a little arbitrary, but try to be as consistent as possible. For example, if your overall close rate is 1% and your “requested demo” close rate is 20%, then the close rate of the “requested demo” attribute is 20X your overall close rate — so you could, for example, award 20 points to leads with those attributes.

The More Advanced Method

This simple method of calculating a lead score is a great start. Note, though, that the most mathematically sound method is one that employs a data mining technique, such as logistic linear regression.

Data mining techniques are more complicated. Logistic linear regression involves building a formula in Excel that’ll spit out the probability that a lead will close into a customer. It’s more accurate than the technique we’ve outlined above since it’s a holistic approach that takes into account how all of the customer attributes — like industry, company size, and whether or not someone requested a trial — interact with one another.

If you’d like to explore logistic linear regression in Excel, check out this resource. In the meantime, the simplified approach is a great way to get started.

What are other ways to use historical data for lead scoring? Share your tips in the comment section.

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Jul

29

2015

What to Do When Your Prospect Takes a Strange Turn in the Buyer’s Journey

[Cue Twilight Zone Music] There is another dimension beyond which is known to most marketers. It is a dimension that is vast and chaotic and as timeless as the sales process itself.

It is the middle ground between the introduction and the close, between engagement and disengagement, it lies between the deepest of our marketing fears and the heights of our marketing knowledge. This is the 4th dimension of the sales funnel. It is an area which we’ll call… The Sales Continuum.

We all have a concept of the sales funnel. It fits nicely into a very linear framework of time. The human mind loves this concept. We can easily process things that have a beginning, middle, and end. We attach these ideas to the sales funnel and imagine perfect scenarios where our top, middle, and bottom of funnel content is consumed in perfect order leading up to a sale.

Submitted for your approval: Five scenarios about what happens, and what to do, when your prospect has taken a strange turn in the buyer’s journey.

1) The Time Element

Your prospect first came to your attention on a Monday. They downloaded all of your content on one of your top offerings. They requested a demo that same week and had a successful first call with your team. They asked for a proposal, it was sent out by the end of the week, and then… nothing.

You reach out to them and they’ve lost a bit of their initial interest. Was this the same prospect from the previous week? Were they under some form of mind control?

You find out that the project has been de-prioritized. They won’t be making a decision for six months. So what do you do? 

  • Reach back out and talk to your prospect
  • Map out a communication strategy
  • Ask if you can send them a reoccurring calendar invite to check back in
  • Provide them with content or articles that they might find useful
  • Connect with your prospect on LinkedIn

On your follow up calls, see if things have shifted again. Ask them if you can provide them with anything else that would help them in their decision-making process. Make sure that you take every opportunity to ask about other potential projects where your organization might be able to help. 

2) Where is Everybody?

Your prospect has vanished from the face of the Earth. Well, not literally, but they’re not answering your calls. You’ve tried to email them, and you’re not getting an out of office message. You’re pretty sure they’re still around. They’ve been receptive to your messages in the past, so what do you do?

  • Vary your approach – If you’ve been talking to them in the afternoons, try reaching out to them early in the morning or vice-versa.
  • Reach out beyond – If you’re in B2B, then your prospect is likely not the only person who works at their company. Reach out to other people at the prospect company who might be involved in the deal and try to get a read for what’s going on. See if there might be others who are interested in your offerings.
  • Change your mode of communication – Depending on your relationship with the prospect, maybe you have options to tweet or text. If it’s not too old-school for you get out a pen and paper and send them a handwritten note of follow up.
  • Relax – There is a good chance that they’re not ignoring you. People get busy and your priorities aren’t always theirs. Don’t risk the relationship by inundating them with constant and potentially desperate sounding messages.

3) Spur of the Moment

Out of nowhere you get a request for a product or solution demo. The prospect has never been on your radar. It’s as if they’ve just arrived from another planet. They’re looking to make a decision very quickly. They’re also evaluating other options. It’s time to jump into action. Here are some rules for this kind of encounter:

  • Keep calm – They’ve done their research and have potentially been observing you from a distance for a while. Now it’s your time to prove to them that you know what you’re doing. Help them find out any additional details they need to help seal the deal.
  • Determine the size of this Unidentified First Opportunity – Get an understanding of the time and resources you want to devote towards this new potential customer.
  • Get to know these strange new beings – Dive in and do your research. Find out who your competition is. It’s time to play catch-up and get a better understanding of their needs and pain points.
  • Take them to your leader – Depending on the size of the opportunity, you may have to get your sales leaders immediately involved to try to close the deal.

4) A Nice Place to Visit

A prospect keeps downloading different top-of-the-funnel offers, they’ve subscribed to your blog, they follow you on social media, but they’ve never taken their engagement to the next level. They don’t seem to be interested in your middle-of-the-funnel or bottom-of-the-funnel offers.

They seem like a perfect fit for your services, but some unknown force is holding them back. How do you take them into the next dimension?  

  • If they’ve shown enough interest and you feel like they’re a great prospect, then assign them a dedicated contact.
  • Have your team reach out via personal email and phone. Let the prospect know that they have someone to contact if they need any help.
  • Try to find out what might be holding them back. Ask about their initiatives and see if they have a need or are just a tire kicker.

Your job here is to guide them between the prospect world and the customer world. Do what you can to help them on their journey to the end of your sales pipeline.

5) A Thing About Machines

Much like our last scenario, your prospect has entered into your sales funnel. Unlike last time, they are responsive to various email workflows. They have downloaded your middle-of-the-funnel content. But the aim of your marketing automation system is to get them to sign up for a demo, an in-person meeting, or your no-cost assessment.

These are the next logical steps, but they just aren’t taking those actions. You’ve done the next level outreach. They’ve even attended your webinars and taken phone calls with your team. What gives?

You’ve let machines do all of your talking for you up to this point. Don’t wait for your prospects to take action and only follow the programmed path. Take these two steps: 

  1. Build them personalized content – Even the best and most narrowly-focused, persona-driven content may not be speaking directly to your prospect. Build out a case that speaks specifically to this particular industry, company, and role.
  2. Take the engagement to the next level – Take that specific content that you just built and work to set up a face-to-face meeting with them to review the information and make your case.

Your marketing machines—computers, phones, software, email—helped you get the prospect’s attention. Now, this person may require a more direct approach, a more human approach. Work to get a meeting set up, and put one of your team members in the same room with the prospect. Don’t over-rely on your marketing automation tools to convert your prospects into customers.

Conclusion

There is a message to these stories and it is this: The Sales Continuum happens every day. No buyer is the perfect persona and no workflow can totally capture the nuanced relationship that a prospect has with your brand.

Once upon a time, there was a thing called inbound marketing and a thing called outbound marketing. In the end, it’s all about people marketing. Every story here combines the power of people with the service of machines. Until the sales robots write content, react to situations, can talk (and listen) effectively over the phone, or walk into a room, you’ll need smart, talented, and human sales and marketing professionals. They’ve always been the ones that help organizations like yours address the strangest turns in the buyer’s journey.

If you want to better understand the convergence between inbound and outbound marketing and why humans matter so much in the sales process, then download our ebook, How to Create a Love Story Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing.

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Jul

21

2015

Phones Aren’t Just for Texting: How Calls Fit Into the Customer Journey [Infographic]

Phone_Calls_Customer_Journey.jpeg

I’ve got a pretty big thing for phone calls. (I bet your sales reps do too.)

Why? Often times, it takes a lot of interest to get someone on the phone. In fact, inbound phone calls are 10-15X more likely to convert than website leads, according to Conversion Scientist.

The trouble is that many marketers don’t know where to start when it comes to driving more inbound phone calls to their business. Sure, digital is your native language, but truth be told, digital marketing and phone calls are a powerful duo.

So how do you take matters into your own hands and start actively using your marketing prowess to drive calls? Here are three easy steps to get you started.

3 Ways to Make Phone Calls Part of the Customer Journey

Promote Your Phone Number

I know it feels counterintuitive to use your digital properties and offers to lead people offline, but nothing can replace live human interaction. According to Invoca’s Call Intelligence Index, 54% of consumers say mobile websites don’t provide enough information. Not to mention, 75% say a phone call is the quickest way to get a response.

The first step is simply putting your phone number on your website. Here are some quick tips:

  • Put your company’s phone number in the website’s header and throughout the site — landing pages, your blog, etc. Above lead forms is also a great spot.
  • Make sure your phone number is clickable on mobile.
  • Play with the style, size, and placement to find out what results in the most calls. 

Track What Drives Calls

Now that you’re using your inbound strategy to drive phone calls, it’s time to dig into the numbers and find out what’s working. Here are some metrics to consider:

  • Top web pages driving phone calls
  • Top content offers driving phone calls
  • Referral sources and marketing campaigns driving calls
  • Average call duration
  • Trends in peak times/days for calls
  • Trends in callers’ geographic locations
  • Revenue from calls

With call intelligence solutions, like Invoca’s integration with the HubSpot software, you can easily keep track of all these metrics right alongside your digital analytics.

Optimize for More Calls

Once you know how phone calls fit into the customer journey, you can start optimizing your efforts to drive more of your best leads towards a call. Start proving which programs and campaigns drive the most phone calls and revenue and put more resources behind them. You can also use trends in caller behavior and demographics to inform your targeting and lead filtering process.

The point is, you’ll have all the insights you need to make smart decisions that result in more high-converting inbound calls. To learn more about phone calls and the new customer journey take a look at Invoca’s new infographic below.

Call Intelligence Index


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Jun

5

2015

How Marketing Can Work With Sales to Close More (and Better) Leads

lead-flow.png

In my job at HubSpot, I chat with marketers very often about what problems they’re facing. One of the most common issues I hear about is lead flow — a marketing department generates hundreds of leads per month, but many of them aren’t closing.

Nobody knows where to turn. Sales points fingers at marketing. Marketing points fingers at sales. They both shrug, unsure of how to proceed.

To get the partnership running effectively again, there are three things I recommend marketers start doing with their sales team.

1) Provide sales training on how inbound leads are different.

Many sales reps are trained to aggressively go after leads who will close ASAP — and ignore the ones who won’t. When I was in sales, I did the same thing. If a prospect wasn’t ready to send in a purchase order in the next week, I was onto the next lead. With limited time and an endless universe of opportunities, I had to prioritize.

This mentality needs to shift when your company is generating inbound leads. Just because someone became a lead by downloading an ebook doesn’t mean they are ready to buy something immediately. On the other hand, they may very well be a great fit for your company down the line.

So a qualifying conversation ought to be one with an educational, consultative tone — it’ll help position the company as a reliable resource. In this call, the sales rep should seek the true timeline for that contact becoming a sales-qualified lead. As Mark Roberge notes in the blog article entitled, “Help! My Sales Team Thinks Our Inbound Leads Suck“:

By the time they get passed on to your sales team, a typical inbound lead might have visited your website 15 times, read 11 blog articles, opened 3 emails from you, and downloaded 5 ebooks … so what do you think happens if a sales rep calls them up and leads with a stone-cold elevator pitch? It comes across as completely tone-deaf to the prospect, right? It might even erode most of the trust your marketing team has worked so hard to build up.”

Show your sales reps where they can get information about the prospect’s on-site historical activity so they can understand the person’s main areas of interest and pain points. Then, teach them how to use this information to facilitate a consultative conversation. 

If, after this conversation, an inbound lead is still not ready to move forward, pass them back to marketing and be sure to include any new context you have on the contact in your CRM. Whether in a form or a contact record, information is key to how marketing continues to nurture this lead to a more readied state.

2) Develop a feedback loop between marketing and sales.

How often have you seen leads go sales, receive follow-up, and then fall into a black hole? In my work with HubSpot customers, I see it all. the. time. This is a huge missed opportunity.

To prevent this lack of communication, set up a way for sales to pass leads back into the nurturing funnel based on what they learned in the initial qualifying conversation. They like pink? Put them into the all-pink text email nurturing campaign. They like chocolate sandwiches? Put them into the email nurturing campaigns with lots of chocolate sandwiches.

You’re probably wondering: How would I technically set this up? There are a few options depending on how large your lead flow is and technical you want to get:

Option 1: Manual

Set up a Google doc where your sales team can put in notes on why a lead isn’t ready to be with sales yet. Have marketing reference the document at regular intervals and re-enroll these contacts into appropriate lead nurturing workflows.

Option 2: Templates

It’s important for marketers to weigh the time and resources spent on creating and manually managing the feedback loop. An alternative would be to create some email template templates in your email tool, CRM system, or even Sidekick for Business. This lets the sales reps decide how they should follow up, when, and in what intervals. Since their specialty involves lead follow-up, they will likely know the best way to leverage the resources you have created.

Don’t forget to circle back from time to time and see how the templates are performing. In Sidekick for Business, you can reference your Template Reporting Dashboard to see how frequently each template is being used and how it’s performing in terms of opens and clicks. You’ll also want to check in regularly and make sure the leads are, in fact, being followed up on. 

Option 3: Automatic

Connect your CRM with your marketing automation platform. Using a custom field or button as a trigger, allow your sales team to re-enroll a contact back into nurturing. If your automation platform has a built-in integration with your CRM (like the HubSpot-Salesforce integration) you may even have this functionality built right into your CRM views.

You’ll want to make sure the communication stays current and open between marketing and sales so that sales isn’t unnecessarily enrolling prospects in workflows or choosing the wrong ones to enroll them in. You may consider creating a reference document that outlines what situations or stage in the sales process would be supported by that particular workflow. Better yet …

3) Set up regular meetings between marketing and sales.

Some marketers pass all leads directly to their sales team and others only pass over the ones that meet criteria they determine as “sales qualified.” For the latter group, if sales is passing back a lot of leads, this indicates the criteria for transitioning a lead needs to be tweaked. Look at examples of leads that were passed back and what about their criteria missed the mark. Set up a meeting to review these examples. Some additional good questions to be reviewing at these meetings include:

  • How do you feel about the number of leads being passed to sales?
  • Do these leads fit the criteria of potential prospects we can do business with? If not, what are we missing?
  • Do you find that the lead score is representative of a hot versus cold lead? If not, let’s look at an example where there’s a disparity and how we can adjust that gap.

It’s important to keep these meetings consistent and regular. These feedback sessions with sales and marketing should occur at least monthly and all commentary should be kept actionable. 

Lead nurturing is a topic that comes up often because it requires such carefully coordinated efforts between both teams. By implementing these steps, marketing and sales teams can see more bottom-line results from their efforts.

free sales and marketing alignment ebook

May

29

2015

How to Create a Compelling Business Case Study: The Ultimate Guide & Template

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Struggling to earn the trust of potential new customers?

Before you can expect them to open up their wallets, you need to start the sales process by demonstrating your ability to deliver on what your product or service promises. 

Sure, you could tell them that you’re great at X and that you’re light-years ahead of the competition when it comes to Y and Z, but at the end of that day, that’s just lip service. What you really need to win new business is cold, hard proof

One of the best ways to prove your worth is through the creation of compelling case studies that chronicle the positive impact your product or service has had on one of your existing customers. To help you arm your prospects with information they can trust, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide on how to create effective case studies for your business — as well as a free template for creating case studies of your own. 

Download the free case study template here.

How to Write a Case Study: The Ultimate Guide 

How to Find the Right Case Study Candidate

In order to provide your sales team with truly valuable case studies, you need to have a definitive plan for selecting the most qualified candidates. Here’s what you should look for in a potential case study candidate:

  • Product Knowledge: The more well-versed a customer is in the logistics of your product or service the better. This will help to ensure that they can speak to the value of what you offer in a way that makes sense for future customers. 
  • Exemplary Results: The companies that have seen the best results are going to make the strongest case studies. Not to mention, if you’ve done really well for them, it’s likely that they’ll have the enthusiasm you’re looking for. 
  • Unexpected Success: Non-traditional customers that have seen positive results can help absolve any doubts potential customers may have.
  • Recognizable Names: While small companies can have powerful stories, bigger or more notable brands can help increase credibility. 
  • Switchers: Customers that came to you after working with a competitor help highlight your competitive advantage and sway decisions in your favor.

How to Reach Out to Case Study Participants

To get the right case study participants on board with the creation process, you have to set the stage for clear and open communication. This means you need to set expectations and determine a well-defined timeline right away.

The biggest reason why the case study process is delayed is due to the customer not having a timeline set or authorization rights to approve the case study, so you want to be sure that you’re covering all of the bases before you get in too deep. 

To avoid a delay, you should kick off the introduction with an email that runs through exactly what they can expect from you, as well as what is expected of them. To help you get a better idea of what this should look like, check out this sample email:

Case_Study_Email_Template.png

So now you’re probably wondering 1) what’s a Case Study Release Form? and 2) what’s a Success Story Letter?

Let’s start with the Case Study Release Form. It’s important to note that this document will vary depending on factors such as the size of your business, the nature of your work, and what you intend to do with the case studies once they are completed. With that said, here’s what you should typically aim to include in the Case Study Release Form:

  • A clear explanation of why you are creating this case study and how it will be used.
  • A statement defining the information you expect to include about the company — names, logos, job titles, pictures, etc.
  • An explanation of your expectations in terms of their participation beyond the completion of the case study. (Are they willing to act as a reference or share feedback? Do you have permission to pass their contact information along for these purposes?)
  • A note about compensation.

As noted in the sample email, The Success Story Letter serves as an outline for the entire case study process. Other than a brief explanation of how the customer will benefit from their case study participation, you’ll want to be sure to define the following steps in The Success Story Letter:

  • The Acceptance: First, you’ll need to receive internal approval from the company’s marketing team. Once approved, you’ll want them to send over the signed Release Form. This is also a good time to determine a timeline that meets the needs and capabilities of both teams.
  • The Questionnaire: To ensure that you have a productive interview, you’ll want to ask the participant to complete a questionnaire prior to their phone interview. This will provide your team with the foundation they need to organize the interview and get the most out of it. 
  • The Interview: Once the questionnaire is completed, someone on your team should reach out to the participant to schedule a 30-60 minute interview. The interview will cover a series of custom questions related to the customer’s experience with your product or service.
  • The Draft Review: After the case study is composed, you’ll want to send a draft to the customer to give them with an opportunity to provide feedback and edits.
  • The Final Approval: Once any necessary edits are completed, you should send a revised copy of the case study to the customer for final approval.  

After the page goes live, it’s best to follow up with the customer and send them a link to the page where the case study lives. Don’t be afraid to ask them to share the link with their network, as it demonstrates not only your ability to deliver positive result, but their impressive growth as well. 

How to Ensure You’re Asking the Right Questions

When it comes time to execute on the questionnaire and actual interview, you want to be sure that you’re setting yourself up for success. In order to end up with a strong use case, it’s important that you’re prepared to not only ask questions, but also ask the right questions. 

In terms of the questionnaire, here are a few sample questions to get you started:

  • What are your goals?
  • What challenges were you experiencing prior to purchasing our product or service?
  • What made our product or service stand out against our competitors?
  • What did your decision-making process look like?
  • How have you benefited from using our product or service? (Ask for specific numbers if applicable.)

Keep in mind that the questionnaire is designed to help you turn up the insight you need to ask strong, success-focused questions during the actual interview. 

As for the phone interview, we recommend that you follow the “Golden Rule of Interviewing.”

Sounds fancy, right?

It’s actually quite simple: Ask open-ended questions. 

If you’re looking to craft a compelling story, yes or no answers are going to get you nowhere. It’s critical to maintain a focus on questions that invite elaboration such as “can you describe …” or “tell me about …”

In terms of a structure for the interview, we recommend breaking down the process into six specific sections — The Customer’s Business, The Need for a Solution, The Decision Process, The Implementation, The Solution in Action, and The Results. These focus areas allow us to gather enough information to put together a rich, comprehensive study. 

Here’s a deeper dive into what these sections look like:

  • The Customer’s Business: The goal of this section is to generate a better understanding of the company’s current challenges and goals, and how they fit into the landscape of their industry. 
    • Sample questions: How long have you been in business? How many employees do you have? What are some of the objectives of your department at this time? 
  • The Need for a Solution: In order to tell a compelling story, you need context. This helps match the customer’s need with your solution. 
    • Sample questions: What challenges and objectives led you to look for a solution? What would have happened if you did not identify a solution? Did you explore other solutions prior to this that did not work out? If so, what happened?
  • The Decision Process: Exploring how the customer arrived at their decision to work with you helps to guide the decision-making process of potential customers. 
    • Sample questions: How did you hear about our product or service? Who was involved in the selection process? What was most important to you when evaluating your options?
  • The Implementation: Your focus should be on exploring their experience during the onboarding process. 
    • Sample questions: How long did it take to get up and running? Did that meet your expectations? Who was involved in the process?
  • The Solution in Action: The goal of this section is to better understand how the customer is using your product or service. 
    • Sample questions: Is there a particular aspect of the product or service that you rely on most? Who is using the product or service?
  • The Results: This is where you want to uncover impressive measurable outcomes. The more numbers, the better. 
    • Sample questions: How is the product or service helping you save time and increase productivity? In what ways does this enhance your competitive advantage? How much have you increased metrics X, Y, and Z? 

How to Lay Out Your Case Study: Sample Case Study Format 

When it comes time to take all of the information you’ve collected and actually turn it into something, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Where should you start? What should you include? What’s the best way to structure it?

To help you get a handle on the layout, we recommend focusing on building out the following seven sections: 

  1. Title: Keep it short. Focus on highlighting the most compelling accomplishment.
  2. Executive Summary: This should be a 2-4 sentence summary of the entire story. You’ll want to follow it with 2-3 bullet points that display metrics showcasing success. 
  3. About: This serves as an introduction to the person or company and can be pulled from their LinkedIn profile or website.
  4. Challenges: This section should include 2-3 paragraphs describing the customer’s challenges prior to using your product or service, as well as the goals that they set out to achieve.
  5. How You Helped: This section should include 2-3 paragraphs that focus on describing how your product or service provided a solution to their problem.
  6. Their Results: This section should include 2-3 paragraphs that prove how your product or service specifically impacted the person or company and helped them achieve their goals. Include numbers to quantify your contributions. 
  7. Supporting Visuals or Quotes: Pick one or two powerful quotes that you would feature at the bottom of sections above, as well as a visual that supports the story you are telling. 

To help you visualize this case study format, check out the following case study template.

You also can download this template here.

Case_Study_Template_1.png

Case_Study_Template_2.png

When laying out your case study, you should be focused on conveying the information that you’ve gathered in the most clear and concise way possible. Make it easy to scan and comprehend, and most importantly, be sure to provide an attractive call-to-action at the bottom to provide readers with an opportunity to learn more about your product or service. 

Business Case Study Examples

You drove the results, made the connect, set the expectations, used the questionnaire to conduct a successful interview, and boiled down your findings into a compelling story. And after all of that, you’re left with a little piece of sales enabling gold: a case study. 

To illustrate what you can expect the final product to look like, take a look at some of these marketing case study examples from HubSpot’s case study library:

HR Software Start-Up Boosts Sales and Increases Organic Traffic 250% With HubSpot

YouEarnedIt_Case_Study.png

Notice how the title employs a compelling number that entices the reader to further explore how YouEarnedIt achieved said success?

AnswerDash Increases Leads by 60% With HubSpot COS Website Design

AnswerDash_Case_Study.png

See how the powerful quotes work to add additional support throughout the study?

BrightGauge Software Increases Customers 87% and Revenue 152% Using HubSpot

BrightGauge_Case_Study.png

Notice how the visual elements help to demonstrate success and provide readers with a better understanding of what your product or service is capable of?

How does your company approach the case study creation process? What unique ways do you promote your case studies? Let us know in the comments below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

case study creation kit - guide + template

 
free case study template and guide

May

23

2015

6 Tips for Making the Most of Your Retargeting Campaigns

retargeting.png

This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Agency Post. To read more content like this, subscribe to Agency Post.

You may wan’t to sit down for this statistic. Ready?

Only 2% of traffic converts on the first visit to a website. I repeat, 2%.

Considering you work tirelessly to drive traffic to your website in the first place, it’s crucial that you have a plan in place to win back the attention of the 98% that took off empty handed. But how?

Retargeting is an advertising technique that allows brands to remain in front of bounced visitors once they’ve left their website. Through the use of a JavaScript tag on your website, your visitors are “cookied” upon arrival, allowing your retargeting vendor to display your ads to them as they browse other websites. (Which is why those boots I looked at on Zappos are seemingly haunting me.)

If you’re ready to turn window shoppers into actual paying customers, this is a technique that you’ll certainly want to dive into a bit more. To help you do so, I’ve put together a comprehensive list of tips on how to make the most of of your retargeting campaigns.

Real quick, to clarify how retargeting really works, take a look at this visual:

what_is_retargeting-1.jpg

Image Credit: Retargeter

How to Make the Most of Your Retargeting Campaigns

1) Segment Everything

With audience segmentation, users can break down their visitors into groups based on their behavior on the website. Much like lead scoring, visitors can be bucketed into different levels of sales readiness according to the specific pages they have visited. 

With this information in tow, you can then create more optimal ad experiences by highlighting the products or services these specific groups previously viewed and directing them back to pages they visited.

For example: Let’s say a visitor viewed both your pricing page and your case studies page, but then wandered off without taking any next steps. While it’s safe to assume they had some interest, you may want to segment them and serve up an ad for your consultation page to catch their interest and re-engage them. 

2) Leverage Frequency Caps

Have you ever been in a clothing store where you can’t seem to make it through one rack without being heckled by a sales associate? It’s like everywhere you turn they are waiting to start a dressing room for you or tell you which shade of blue best compliments your eyes.

Even if you are interested in what they’re offering, it can all feel a bit overwhelming. 

To avoid this type of overly assertive approach with your retargeting, you’ll want to leverage frequency caps. Frequency caps allows you to place a fixed limit on the number of times a specific ad will appear to help you be more strategic in your efforts. 

The frequency cap should be entirely dependent on the objective you are trying to achieve, as well as what stage of the buying cycle the visitor is in. However, as a rule of thumb, Retargeter recommends exposing visitors to 17 to 20 ads per month.

3) Experiment With Durations

While frequency caps aim to regulate the number of impressions a visitor will experience throughout the day, week, or month, campaign duration focuses specifically on the lifespan of the cookie.

When you set a duration for your retargeting campaign you’re essentially creating a signal to destroy the cookie after that specified amount of time. From this point on, visitors will no longer be served up ads. 

The duration of your campaign should be set to align with the length of your sales cycle. However, according to Perfect Audience, you should aim to test longer-scale campaigns (30 to 90 days) against shorter campaigns (three to seven days) to determine what converts best.

4) Don’t Forget to Use Burn Pixels

If your product or service only requires a one-time purchase (or you simply don’t want to waste your budget on a visitor you’ve already successfully converted once), you’ll want to use a burn pixel.

What’s a burn pixel? It’s essentially a line of code that that lives on the “post-transaction” page. When a visitor lands there, they are marked as so and will stop being served ads. 

However, this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be focused on marketing to your existing customers. While a burn pixel helps you to conserve your retargeting budget, research from Gartner Group suggests that 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers. That’s huge. 

With that said, burn pixels can also be used to remove those who have already converted from your original retargeting campaign so that you can enroll them in a secondary campaign that employs ad copy that speaks to their unique wants and needs as a customer, rather than a visitor. 

5) Conduct A/B Tests

To keep your campaign fresh, you’ll want to pay close attention to which ads are performing (and which ads aren’t). To uncover the most effective ads, consider conducting a handful of A/B tests that hone in on specific variables.

For inspiration, check out these A/B testing suggestions:

  • Size: For web campaigns, Perfect Audience found that ads with a resolution of 300 x 250 or 728 x 90 tend to perform best. Testing the size of your retargeting ads could mean the difference between an opportunity lost and a customer closed. 
  • Type of Content: Looking to restore their client’s faith in retargeting, Add3 tested offering an ebook versus a whitepaper and ended up seeing a 325% increase in leads. 
  • Value Propositions: Ad real estate is primarily limited, meaning that you have little room to get your point across. To ensure they were delivering the strongest message, Retargeter tested two variations of a value proposition which helped to increase the conversion rate from 0.22% to 0.26%.

6) Rotate Your Creatives

If you went to a movie theater that never updated their film selection, would you keep going back for more? Or would you find a new movie theater?

Sure, we’ve all rewatched our favorite movies over and over again, but after awhile, they become predictable. And suddenly, that element of suspense and enchantment is gone. 

To ensure that you’re keeping your visitors curious, it’s important that you have a plan for rotation. Rather than serving up the same thing every week (think grade school cafeteria menu), you’ll want to swap out some of your existing ads with fresh ones to pique the interest of both new and existing visitors. 

This will help to combat banner blindness and provide you with an opportunity to test out some new ad copy. 

Has your company experimented with retargeting? What type of return have you seen from it? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.

Editor’s Note: Perfect Audience is now an integration partner. With it, you can connect your marketing and advertising together with ease by creating retagreting audiences based on HubSpot Smart Lists. Check it out here

associations-networks-poster

Dec

23

2014

How and When to Follow up With All Types of Leads

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In the sales and marketing world, there are few issues that are getting more attention than the issues surrounding lead management and follow up. In my experience, clarity around lead management, qualification and response times are the crucial linchpin to align sales and marketing efforts.

It’s a rather scary statistic, but according to a study most recently done for Harvard Business Review, 71% of qualified leads are never followed up with. What’s more is, of the leads that are followed up on, they’re only touched an average of 1.3 times. This represents tremendous opportunity costs not only in revenue, but in the customer/prospect experience as well.

This is why creating a clear service level agreement (SLA) is important. An effective Lead Management and Response SLA lays out how leads should be treated, when they should be followed up with, how often they should be followed up with and how the sales and marketing sides of the organization will be held accountable in the process.

While there is a tremendous amount of research on how to respond to inbound leads, developing effective protocols requires more than just determining the source of a lead. What’s important is determining the quality and the context of the lead you have generated.

The Four Components of Lead Classification

We’ve identified four components that must be factored in when developing lead management protocols:

1) Type of Product/Service

Is your offering one that fills an already existing need, with an existing line item; or, are you selling something to solve a problem that isn’t being managed, with no existing line item? If you’re selling the former, you’re response management is going to need to be on the faster side of what I explain below.

2) Source

Where did the lead come from? The simplest designation via inbound or offline efforts. Inbound leads typically need much faster response that offline leads do. However, it’s not always that simple. There are offline sources that need quick responses, but not every inbound lead should be responded to immediately.

3) Company Quality

An important rule to remember when qualifying leads is to always be qualifying the company, not the contact. Whether it’s someone who downloaded a white paper or checklist from your website, gave you a card at a trade show or called in to your main number, you want to be paying attention to the company when assessing the strength of a lead. The higher the lead quality the faster you’ll want to respond.

4) The Buyer’s Journey

You must consider where the prospect finds themselves in their buying journey. While responding within five minutes of a download is ideal at the bottom of the funnel, it can turn people off when they’re at the top. To get a feel of where your prospect most likely is, consider:

  • Which of your buyer personas do they represent?
  • What offer did they download (or how else was the lead created)?
  • What other actions have they had with your company and website? 

The lower the prospect is in the funnel (the closer they are to their decision stage), the faster you are going to want to respond.

Lead Scoring vs. Lead Triage

With your lead classification criteria clear, next you’ll want to decide whether you’ll take lead scoring or (what I like to call) a lead triage approach. While lead scoring is a hot topic, with the siren song of certainty, I’ve found that very few companies are in a position where they should actually focus on lead scoring. Lead scoring works when:

  • There is certainty about what actions and attributes cause a prospect to be more likely to buy, and
  • You’re being overwhelmed with more leads than your sales team can manage. If you’ve got capacity to respond to more leads, lead scoring is relatively useless.

Lead triage is a simple (and at least partially manual) process of reviewing each lead to categorize it within the context of your lead management SLA. The job is to simply classify each lead as qualified, not-qualified or not enough information to determine.

For qualified leads (QLs) the vast majority of companies will do fine designating each QL as low, moderate or high quality. That designation should trigger corresponding actions within your SLA. If you feel the need for a more nuanced approach you can add a bottom/not-bottom category to each designation.

Effectively Responding to Leads

The first rule of lead response is “respond.” Keep things simple, as the statistic at the beginning of this post highlight, merely responding to leads puts you in the top quartile of organizations.

Timing of Response

For a lead generated online, waiting just five minutes will reduce the likelihood of contact by 10x factor. Now, as I shared in the classification section, I’m not an advocate that every online lead be contacted instantly. First off, few companies have the resources to consistently respond in such a manner, and secondly the context of your prospect often make it unnecessary.

I share this statistic to highlight that time is of the essence. For companies with a lead response system in place, the average response time is 46 hours, 53 minutes – almost two days! That is simply too long for the average initial response.

Frequency of Response

When developing your lead response process, you want to address not only the time that a qualified lead should be responded to, but the frequency as well.

As I shared above, the typical lead is touched by a salesperson on average only 1.3 times. Increasing the number of touches to six increases the likelihood of making a contact by 70%.

When crafting your response protocols, you’ll want to integrate voice mail and email. Highly qualified leads should get at least six outreaches over a sustained period of time.

The Importance of Nurturing

As a part of your lead management process, you’re going to want to designate whether a lead is being actively or passively managed. If you fail to connect with your prospect within the time prescribed in your SLA, and even if you connect and no sales action is initiated, you’ll want to make sure you have a defined nurturing process in place to position yourself strongly in the future.

New Call-to-action

Nov

22

2014

Why People Are Ignoring Your Emails [New Ebook]

ignore-emails-sidekick-by-hubspotThis post originally appeared on the Sales section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

Google “business email mistakes” and you’ll find endless articles and resources. But they all say the same thing:

  • Include a first name in the email.
  • Avoid using business jargon.
  • Don’t forget to include a greeting.
  • Don’t say “to whom it may concern.”
  • Make sure you change the subject line.
  • Spellcheck your work.
  • Avoid emoticons.  

And the list goes on. But all of these suggestions are common sense. If you’re a business professional today, what are the not-so-obvious mistakes that are preventing your emails from generating a response?

That’s what our latest guide is all about: uncovering nine real reasons why people ignore your emails. Let’s dive in.

Why People Are Ignoring Your Emails

1) Your subject line focuses on the wrong goal.

It’s no secret that an effective subject line is needed to ultimately get an email opened. But when writing these subject lines, think about your true end goal.  

The goal of any email you send should simply be about getting a response. It shouldn’t be about closing a deal, finalizing a partnership, or hiring a candidate. Until you can get a response on your email — until you can truly connect with your recipient — you’re nowhere closer to your goal. 

Here are some sample subject lines we’ve seen work well:

  • [First Name], quick question for you.  
  • [Mutual connection] recommended I get in touch.
  • Ideas for [thing that’s important to them].  
  • Question about [recent trigger event].  
  • Question about [a goal they have].  
  • Thoughts about [title of their blog post].  
  • Have you considered [thought / recommendation]?

2) You’re sending your emails at the wrong time.

Most business emails are sent during business hours. But recent data from the 2014 Email Open Rates Report shows something slightly surprising.    

email-open-times

The gray line in the above chart shows the number of emails sent each day of the week. This line illustrates that most emails were sent on Monday, with over 1,000,000 sent that day. The least amount of emails were sent on Saturday and Sunday, of course, with under 200,000 sent on each of those days. But the worst days for open rates are Monday and Tuesday. However, the open rate gradually increases over the course of the week and then spikes on Saturday and Sunday.  

Now, we’re not saying that you should send all your emails on the weekend. But there should be some balance. If you’re looking to really capture the attention of someone important that isn’t getting back to you, try a Sunday night email. 

3) You’re using a generic sender address.

While many one-to-one emails come from an individual account, you may be using an email service provider to send emails to a larger database. For example, you may be contacting many individuals about a new offer, or perhaps you need to send a new feature update. Whatever the case, the name you include in the “From” field of your email can have a huge impact on your overall open rates. There’s been a number of studies that show sending emails from an actual person increases both the open and clickthrough rates. 

maggie-hubspot-sender-address-test

As you can see in the graph above, the control generated a 0.73% clickthrough rate (CTR), and the treatment generated a 0.96% CTR. With a confidence of 99.9%, there was a clear winner. And it makes sense — recipients feel a more personal connection to your email when they receive it from you than they do from Company X — or worse, some version of “donotreply.com.”

Enjoy this post? To read more content like it, subscribe to Sales.

 

Sep

21

2014

How to Create an Awesome Upsell Email

ecommerce-upsell-email This post originally appeared on the Ecommerce section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Ecommerce.

When you think of upselling, think of fast food restaurants. Really! They pretty much perfected the art with their “would you like (more…)

Sep

7

2014

How to Send Follow-Up Emails [Free Templates]

Published by in category email marketing, HubSpot InBound Marketing Blog Feed, lead nurturing | Comments are closed

BTE-Signals-Webinar-SlideshareThis post originally appeared on the Sales section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been at a loss on how to follow up when …

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